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The more arresting news is that “Open” is one of the most passionately anti-sports books ever written by a superstar athlete — bracingly devoid of triumphalist homily and star-spangled gratitude.Agassi’s announced theme is that the game he mastered was a prison he spent some 30 years trying to escape.
He is one of only three men in the open era, and the only American man, to capture each of the four Grand Slam titles, compiling in one stretch (1999-2000) a record of 27-1 in successive majors — a ho-hum burst of excellence in the brave new world of Roger Federer, though it was the best streak in 30 years, dating back to Rod Laver’s full cycle of Grand Slam victories in 1969.
Together they reconstructed Agassi’s body and his game, and made possible his extraordinary, late-career resurgence, when, at last finding joy in tennis, he briefly eclipsed his archrival, Pete Sampras, and staked his claim to being the era’s dominant player.
The numerology of pelt accumulation favors Sampras, who won 14 Grand Slam titles, seven of them at Wimbledon, and held a 20-14 advantage in head-to-head matches.
All this was nurturing, at least compared with his next incarceration, at the Florida tennis academy, or “glorified prison camp,” operated by Nick Bollettieri, a sun-baked entrepreneur paid thousands of dollars by parents who shipped their children off for months, even years, of incessant drilling, lectures on motivational psychology and nights spent in barracks-like dorms.
“The constant pressure, the cutthroat competition, the total lack of adult supervision — it slowly turns us into animals,” Agassi writes.
Now, three years into his retirement, Agassi’s sterling accomplishments are again being obscured, this time by pre-publication revelations from his autobiography, “Open,” especially his admission that during one low period he found solace in crystal methamphetamine, supplied by his “assistant,” and later lied about it to tennis officials, thus avoiding a three-month suspension.
Given the current scandals involving steroids and human growth hormone, Agassi’s infraction seems minor, even quaint, characterized as it was by late-night binges that more likely retarded rather than “enhanced” his match-day performances.
The abuse the 28-year-old woman was forced to endure was "some of the most heinous things I've heard in 16 years," Pawtucket Detective Sgt. While police have charged the couple, Graham said detectives are also looking into other people who may have witnessed or known about the woman's plight -- and did nothing to help her...
-- A local couple are accused of holding a mentally disabled woman against her will and abusing her in a basement apartment for the last month and a half.
This happened at a time when tennis promoters were eager to feed the public’s infatuation with under-age champions like Bjorn Borg and Chris Evert, not to mention half-forgotten casualties like Jimmy Arias and Andrea Jaeger — a phenomenon that recalls the unhealthy national “love affair” almost a century ago with screen virgin-goddesses like Mary Pickford and the Gish sisters.
Agassi rebelled by drinking, brawling, body piercing and sporting “one pinky nail that’s two inches long and painted fire-engine red.” Locked into a career dictated by talent and upbringing, he found escape off-court, surrounded by the entourage, or surrogate family, he assembled and in most instances paid for, in particular the company of two father figures — his physical trainer, Gil Reyes, and his coach, Brad Gilbert.
Eurosport's lead tennis analyst Mats Wilander said: "I said that beating Nadal when he is on form on clay is impossible, and again the Spaniard has proved that.