In the opening sentences of the book, Agassi reveals a personal truth: he hates tennis. Throughout this autobiography, he shares accounts of telling close friends this and in each case their reaction is the same–disbelief, followed by sympathy. He hates both losing and winning, with the only difference being that he hates losing more. However, eventually he realizes that “maybe doing what you hate, doing it well and cheerfully, is the point.” (Chapter 21)
Lessons from the book include:
- Your attitude is the most important thing you can cultivate. As Agassi puts it, matches can be won hours ahead of time by practicing constructive self-talk.
- Attention to the details of your tools. Agassi is the only one who ever touches his tennis bag, and he knows how much it should weigh down to the ounce.
- Even in a solitary game such as tennis, you build a team of trainers and coaches. Agassi is very loyal to his team, and they are loyal to him in return.
- Helping others is its own reward. By the end of his career, Agassi had earned tens of millions of dollars but he was still motivated to earn money for his educational foundation.