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Notas Libro Tenista Andre Agassi


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¿Quién es Andre Agassi?

Como jugador tenis, yo crecí viéndolo - Andre Agassi desafió todas las reglas del tenis, desde su estilo agresivo de juego, hasta la forma de vestir.

Algunos de sus premios y logros fueron estos:

André Agassi ganó los cuatro Grand Slam, Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon y el US Open, títulos que solo ha sido realizado por otros cuatro jugadores desde el inicio de la era abierta en 1968.

El fue el primero desde el australiano Rod Laver (ganó los 4 el mismo año) luego, el suizo Roger Federer en el 2009, en el 2010 por el español Rafael Nadal y en el 2016 por el serbio Novak Djokovic.

Ganó un total de 8 titulos de Grand Slams y 60 titulos de la ATP en los cuales tuvo 17 títulos de ATP Masters Series y 1 ATP Masters Cup. (Copa de Maestros)

Ganó medalla de oro en los Juegos Olímpicos de Atlanta 1996. Andre Agassi y Rafael Nadal son los únicos tenistas masculinos que han ganado los cuatro torneos del Grand Slam y la medalla de Oro Olímpica, a esto se denomina el Golden Slam de carrera.

Su mujer Steffi Graf es la única tenista, en la era Open (tanto masculino como femenino) que ha ganado el Golden Slam en un mismo año, en 1988.

Gano el titulo de Copa Davis por naciones en 3 ocasiones 1990, 1992, y 1995.

Finalizo como #1 del mundo en 1999.

Sus ganancias por premios de por torneos pasarón los $31 millones de dolares (Esto no incluye sus patrocinadores y otros eventos)

Aquí puede ver mis notas en ingles del libro.

¿Quién es Nicolás Laverde?

Emprendedor, Entrenador y Coach Colombiano que ayuda a otros empresarios y altos ejecutivos a que lleguen a ser más efectivos y puedan alcanzar su potencial fortaleciendo sus habilidades personales y las de sus organizaciones.


- Definiendo lo que es Posible.
SKYPE: laverde.nicolas
Whatsapp: +57 (321) 516-6485
Bogotá - Colombia.

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Notas Libro Tenista Andre Agassi

  1. 1. NICOLAS LAVERDE 2017  The finish line at the end of a career is no different is no different from the finish line at the end of a match. The objective is to get within reach of that finish line, because the it gives off a magnetic force. (…) feel that force pulling you, and you can use that force to get across. But just before you come within range, or just after, you feel another force, equally strong, pushing you away. It’s inexplicable, mystical, these twin forces, these contradictory energies, but they both exist. I’ve spent much of my life seeking the one, fighting the other, and sometimes I’ve been stuck, suspended, bounced like a tennis ball between the two. I remind myself that it will require iron discipline to cope with these forces, and whatever else comes my way. Back pain, bad shots, foul weather, self-loathing. It’s a form of worry, this reminder, but also a meditation. One thing I’ve learned in twenty-nine years of playing tennis: Life will throw everything but the kitchen sink in your path, and then it will throw the kitchen sink. It’s your job to avoid the obstacles. If you let them stop you or distract you, you’re not doing your job, and failing to do your job will cause regrets that paralyze you more than a bad back. (p.7)  It’s no accident, I think, that tennis uses the language of life. Advantage, service, fault, break, love, the basic elements of tennis are those of everyday existence, because every match is a life in miniature. (p.8)  Even the structure of tennis, mimics the structure of our days. Points become games become sets become tournaments, and it’s all so tightly connected that any point can become minutes become hours, and any hour can be our finest. Or darkest. It’s our choice. (p.8)  The afternoon shower is for encouraging myself, coaching myself. (p.8)  Tennis is the sport in which you talk to yourself. No athletes talk to themselves like tennis players. Pitchers, golfers, they mutter to themselves, of course, but tennis players can talk to themselves—and answer. In the heat of a match, tennis players look like lunatics in a public square, ranting and swearing and conducting Lincoln-Douglas debates with heir alter egos. Why? Because tennis is do damned lonely. Only boxers can understand the loneliness of tennis players—and yet boxers have their corner men and managers. Even a boxer’s opponent provides a kind of companionship. (p.8)  In tennis you’re on an island, which inevitably leads to self-talk, and for me the self-talk starts here in the afternoon shower. (p.9)  Control what you can control. (p.10)
  2. 2. NICOLAS LAVERDE 2017  What you feel doesn’t matter in the end; it’s what you do that makes you brave. (p.10)  Butterflies are funny. Some day they make you run to the toilet. Other days they make you horny. Other days the make you laugh, and long for the fight. Deciding which type of butterflies you’ve got going (monarchs or moths) is the first order of business when you’re driving to the arenas. Fighting out butterflies, deciphering what they say about the status of your mind and body, is the firs step to making them work for you. (p.11)  Tennis is about degrees of aggression. You want to be aggressive enough to control a point, not so aggressive that you sacrifice control and expose yourself to unnecessary risk. (p.12)  I obsess about the few things I can control, and racket tension is one such thing. (p.13)  Disorder is distraction, and every distraction on the court is a potential turning point. (p.14)  At the moment my hared for tennis is focused on the dragon, a ball machine modified by my fire-belching father. Midnight black, set on big rubber wheels, the word PRINCE painted in white block letters along its base, the dragon looks at first glance like the ball machine at every country club in America, but it’s actually a living, breathing creature straight out of my comic books. The dragon has a brain, a will, a black heart—and a horrifying voice. Sucking another ball into its belly, the dragon makes a series of sickening sounds. As pressure builds inside its throat, it groans. As the ball rises slowly to its mouth, it shrikes. … My father has deliberately made the dragon fearsome. He’s given it an extra-long neck of aluminum tubing, and a narrow aluminum head, which recoils like a whip every time the dragon fires. (p.27)  My father wants to tower over me not simply because it commands my attention and respect. He wants the balls that shoot from the dragon’s mouth to land at my feet as if dropped from an airplane. The trajectory makes the balls nearly impossible to return in a conventional way: I need to hit every ball on the rise, or else it will bounce over my head. But even that’s not enough for my father. Hit earlier, he yells. Hit earlier. My father yells everything twice sometimes three times, sometimes ten. Harder, he says, harder. But what’s the use? No matter how hard I hit a ball, no matter how early, the ball comes back. Every ball I send across the net joins the thousands that already cover the court. Not hundreds.
  3. 3. NICOLAS LAVERDE 2017 Thousands. They roll toward me in perpetual waves. I have no room to turn, to step, to pivot. I can’t move without stepping on a ball—and yet I can’t step on a ball, because my father won’t bear it. Step o one of my father’s tennis balls and he’ll howl as if you stepped on his eyeball. … My father says that if I hit 2,500 balls each day, I’ll hit 17,500 balls each week, and at the end of one year I’ll have hit nearly one million balls. He believes in math. Numbers, he says, don’t lie. A child who hits one million balls each year will be unbeatable. Hit earlier, my father yells. Damn it, Andre, hit earlier. Crowd the ball, crowd the ball. (p.28)  Nothing send my father into a rage like hitting a ball into the net. He dislikes when I hit the ball wide, he yells when I hit a ball long, but when I muff a ball into the net is something else. Over and over my father says: The net is your biggest enemy. (p.29)  Daly quota of 2,500. He revs up the blower, the giant machine for drying the court after it rains. Of course it never rains where we live so my father uses the blower to corral tennis balls. Just as he did with the ball machine, my father has modified a standard blower, made it into another demonic creature. It’s one of my earliest memories: five years old, getting pulled out of kindergarten, going with my father to the welding shop and watching him build his insane lawnmower-like machine that can move hundreds of tennis balls at once. … After blowing all the balls into one corner, my father takes a snow shovel and scoops the balls into a row of metal garbage cans, slop buckets with which he feeds the dragon. (p.30)  Now he stomps back onto the court, slams the ball into a garbage can, and sees me staring at the hawks. He glares. What the fuck are you doing? Stop thinking. No fucking thinking! The net is the biggest enemy, but thinking is the cardinal sin. Thinking, my father believes, is the source of all bad things, because thinking is the opposite of doing. When my father catches me thinking, daydreaming, on the tennis court, he reacts as if he caught me taking money from his wallet. I often think about how I can stop thinking. (p.31)  We hadn’t carried in the last cardboard box before my father began to build his dream court. I still don’t know how he did it. He never worked a day in construction. He knew nothing about concrete, asphalt, water, drainage. He read no books, consulted no experts. He just got a picture in his head
  4. 4. NICOLAS LAVERDE 2017 and set about making that picture a reality. As with so many things, he willed the court into being through sheer orneriness and energy. I think he might be doing something similar with me. (p.32)  The days of Rudy and the Big Macs passes in a blur. Suddenly my father had his backyard tennis court, which meant I had my prison. I’d helped feed chain gang that built my cell. I’d helped measure and paint the white lines that would confine me. Why did I do it? I had no choice. The reason I do everything. … My father decided long before I was born that I would be a professional tennis player. … She tells me that when I was sill in the crib, my father hung a mobile of tennis ball above my head and encouraged me to slap at them with a ping- pong paddle he’d taped my hand. When I was here he gave me a sawed- off racket and told me to hit whatever I wanted. I specialized in salt shakers. I liked serving them through glass windows. I aced the dog. My father never got mad. He got mad about many things, but never about hitting something hard with a racket. (p.33)  I know that my father resents every moment in spend in school; it comes at the cost of court time. … Some days, when he’s driving me and my siblings at school, my father will smile and say: I’ll make you guys a deal. Instead of taking you to school, how about I take you to Cambridge Racquet Club? You can hit balls all morning. How does that sound? We know what he wants us to say. So we say it. Hooray! Just don’t tell your mother, my father says. (p.34)  My father says that when he boxed, he always wanted to take a guy’s best punch. He tells me one day on the tennis court: When you know that you just took the other guy’s best punch, and you’re still standing, and the other guy knows it, you will rip the heart right out of him. In tennis, h says, same rule. Attack the other man’s strength. If the man is a server, take away his serve. If he’s a power player, overpower him. If he has a big forehand, takes pride in his forehead, go after his forehead until he hates his forehead. My father has a special name for his contrarian strategy. He calls it putting a blister on the other guy’s brain. With this strategy, this brutal philosophy,
  5. 5. NICOLAS LAVERDE 2017 he stamps me for life. He turns me into a boxer with a tennis racket. More, since most tennis players pride themselves on their serve, my father turns me into a counterpuncher—a returner. (p.42)  My father’s way of teaching is to tell you once, then tell you a second time, then shout at you and call you an idiot for not getting it the first time. Uncle Isar tells you, then smiles and waits. If you don’t understand, no problem. He tells you again, more softly. He has all the time in he world. (p.43)  He needs me to do it. So this match will be more than money. It will be about respect and manhood and honor—against the greatest football player of all time. I’d rather play in the final Wimbledon. Against Nastase. With Wendi as the ballgirl. (p.51)  It was all about a tennis boarding school on the west coast. The first school of its kind, my father says. A boot camp for young tennis players, it’s run by a former paratrooper named Nick Bollettieri. … You’re not getting any better here in Las Vegas. You’ve been beaten all the local boys. You’ve beaten all the boys in he west. Andre, you’ve beaten all the player at the local college! I have nothing left to teach you. … My father doesn’t want to limit me, or break me, or ruin me. So he’s banishing me. He’s sending me away, partly to protect me form himself. Andre, he says, you’ve got to eat, sleep, and drink tennis. It’s the only way you’re going to be number one. (p.70)  People like to call the Bollettieri Academy a boot camp, but it’s really a glorified prison camp military-style. … We rarely leave, and we have scant contact with the outside world. Like most prisoners we do nothing but sleep and work, and our main rock pile is drills. Serve drills, net drills, backhand drills, forehand drills with occasional match play to stablish the pecking order, strong to weak. Sometimes it feels as though we’re gladiators, preparing underneath the Colosseum. Certainly the thirty-five instructors who bark at us during drills think of themselves as salve drivers. When we’re not drilling, we’re studying the psychology of tennis. We take classes on mental toughness, positive thinking, and visualization. We’re taught to close our eyes and picture ourselves winning Wimbledon,
  6. 6. NICOLAS LAVERDE 2017 hoisting that gold trophy above our heads. Then we go to aerobics, or weight training, or out to the crushed-shell track, where we run until we drop. (p.74)  da Vinci’s notebooks. Both of us are floored that one man could have been so inspired, I tell Philly—that’s the secret. (p.107)  Sportswriters murder me for it. They say I’m trying to stand out. In fact— as with my mohawk—I’m trying to hide. They say I’m trying to change the game. In fact I’m trying to prevent the game from changing me. They call me a rebel, but I have no interest in being rebel, I’m only conducting an everyday, run-of-the-mill teenage rebellion. Subtle distinctions, but important. At heart, I’m doing nothing more than being myself. … I’m doing nothing more than I did at the Bolletteri Academy. Bucking authority, experimenting with identity, sending a message to my father, thrashing against the lack of choice in my life. But I’m doing it on a grander stage. Whatever I’m doing, for whatever reasons, it strikes a chord, I’m routinely called the savior of American tennis, whatever that mean. I think it has to do with the atmosphere at my matches. Besides wearing my outfits, fans come sporting my hairdo. I see my mullet on men and women. I’m flatter by the imitators, embarrassed, thoroughly confused. I can’t imagine all these people trying to be like Andre Agassi, since I don’t want to be Andre Agassi. (p.115)  Image is everything. (p.131)  The way I’ve been doing them is worse. I’m courting disaster. I’m going to hurt myself. He (Gil) gives me a fast primer on the mechanics of the body, the physics and hydraulics and architecture of human anatomy. To know what your body wants, he says, to understand what it needs and what it doesn’t. (p.136)  Gil: Still have the bullet hole in my leg. Also, I didn’t speak English, only Spanish, so I’d sit in school, self-conscious, not talking. I learned English by reading Jim Murray in the Los Angeles Times and listening to Vin Scully calling Dodger games on the radio. I had a little transistor. KABC, every night. Vin Scully was my English teacher. (p.138)  If I must play tennis, the loneliest sport, the I’m sure as hell going to surround myself with as many people as I can off the court. And each person will have his specific role. Perry will help with my disordered thoughts. J.P. will help with my troubled soul. Nick will help with the basics
  7. 7. NICOLAS LAVERDE 2017 of my game. Philly will help with details, arrangements, and always have my back. (p.141)  -He (Gil) laughs. You don’t actually hate tennis, he says. -I do, Gil, I really do. (p.143)  I’m not suited for anything else. I don’t know how to do anything else. Tennis is the only thing I’m qualified for. (p.143)  From the start, Gil keeps a careful record of my workouts. He buys a brown ledger and marks down every rep, every set, every exercise—every day. He records my weight, my diet, my pulse, my travel. In the margins he draws diagrams and even pictures. He says he wants to chart my progress, compile a database he can refer to in the coming years. He’s making a study of me. He never skips a day. (p.144)  Gil will travel with me. … (…Gils has a special concoction of water, carbs, salt, and electrolytes that I need to drink the night before every match.) His training doesn’t end on the road. If anything, it becomes more important on the road. (p.144)  Gil, who learned English from newspapers and baseball games, delivers a flowing, lilting, poetic monologue, right outside Joe’s, and one of the great regrets of my life is that I don’t have a tape recorder with me. Still, I remember I nearly word for word. Andre, I won’t ever try to change you, because I’ve never tried to change anybody. If I could change somebody, I’d change myself. But I know I can give you structure and blueprint to achieve what you want. There’s a difference between a plow horse and a racehorse. You don’t treat them the same. You hear all this talk about treating people equally, and I’m not sure equal means the same. As far as I’m concerned, you’re a racehorse, and I’ll always treat you accordingly. I’ll be firm, but fair. I’ll lead, never push. I’m not one of those people who expresses or articulates feelings very well, but from now on, just know this: It’s on, man. It is on. You know what I’m saying? We’re on a fight, and you can count on me until the last man is standing. Somewhere up there is a star with your name on it. I might not be able to help you find it, but I’ve got pretty strong shoulders, and you can stand on my shoulders while you’re looking for that star. You hear? For as long as you want. Stand on my shoulders and reach, man. Reach. (p.148-149)
  8. 8. NICOLAS LAVERDE 2017  And in the corner he’s put and old pool table. We shoot nine-ball between reps and sets. Many nights we’re in the gym until four in the morning, Gil searching for new ways to build up my mind, my confidence, along with my body. (p.153)  Que lindo es sonar despierto, he says. How lovely it is to dream while you are awake. Dream while you’re awake, Andre. Anybody can dream while they’re sleep but they need to dream all the time, and say your dreams out loud, and believe in them. In other words, when in the final of a slam, I must dream. I must play to win. (p.154)  But dreams, I tell Gil, in one of our quiet moments, are so damned tiring. … I can’t promise you that you won’t be tired, he says. But please know this. There’s a lot of good waiting for you on the other side of tired. Get yourself tired, Andre. That’s when you’re going to know yourself. On the other side of tired. (p.155)  I’m expecting to face Pete, but he loses his semifinal match to Goran Ivanisevic, a big, strong serving machine from Croatia…It’s a middleweight versus a heavy weight. (p.163)  He’s acting me left and right, monster serves that the speed gun clocks at 138 miles an hour. But it’s not just the speed, it’s the trajectory. They land at a 75-degree angle. I try not to care. I tell myself that aces happen. Each time he serves a ball past me, I say under my breath that he can’t do that every time. Just walk to the other side and get ready, Andre. The match will be decided on those few second serves. (p.163)  You control what you can control. (p.164)  I’m supposed to be a different person now that I’ve won a slam. Everyone says no. No more Image Is Everything. Now, sportswriters assert, for Andre Agassi, winning is everything. After two years of calling me a fraud, a choke artist, a rebel without a cause, they lionize me. They declare that I’m a winner, a player of substance, the real deal. They say my victory at Wimbledon forces the to reassess me, to reconsider who I really am. But I don’t feel that Wimbledon has changed me. I feel, in fact, as if I’ve been let in on a dirty little secret: winning changes nothing. Now hat I’ve won a slam, I know something that very few people on earth are permitted to know. A win doesn’t feel as good as a loss feels bad, and the good feeling doesn’t last as long as the bad. Not even close. (p.167)
  9. 9. NICOLAS LAVERDE 2017  I told her it was wrong to deprive the world of that voice, that astonishing voice. Above all, I told her that it would be dangerous to surrender to fear. Fears are like gateway drugs, I said. You give in to small one, and soon you’re giving in to bigger ones. So what if she didn’t want to perform? She had to. (p.174)  Shadowlands (movie): Pain is God’s megaphone to rouse a deaf world. We are like blocks of stone…[T]he blows of His chisel, which hurt us so much, are what make us perfect. (p.180)  You always try to be perfect, he says, and always fall short, and it fucks with your head. Your confidence is shot, and perfectionism is the reason. You try to hit a winner on every ball, when just being steady, consistent, meat and potatoes, would be enough to win ninety percent of the time. (p.187)  Quit going for the knockout, he says. Stop swinging for the fences. All you have to be is solid. Singles, doubles, move the chains forward. Stop thinking about yourself, and your own game, and remember that the guy on the other side of the net has weaknesses. Attack his weaknesses. You don't have to be the best in the world every time you go out there. You just have to be better than one guy. Instead of you succeeding, make him fail. Better yet, let him fail. It's all about odds and percentages. You're from Vegas, you should have an appreciation of odds and percentages. The house always wins, right? Why? Because the odds are stacked in the house's favor. So? Be the house! Get the odds in your favor. Right now, by trying for a perfect shot with every ball, you're stacking the odds against yourself. You're assuming too much risk. You don't need to assume so much risk. Fuck that. Just keep the ball moving. Back and forth. Nice and easy. Solid. Be like gravity, man, just like motherfucking gravity. When you chase perfection, when you make perfection the ultimate goal, do you know what you're doing? You're chasing something that doesn't exist. You're making everyone around you miserable. You're making yourself miserable. Perfection? There's about five times a year you wake up perfect, when you can't lose to anybody, but it's not those five times a year that make a tennis player. Or a human being, for that matter. It's the other times. It's all about your head, man. With your talent, if you're fifty percent game-wise, but ninety-five percent head-wise, you're going to win. But if you're ninety-five percent game-wise and fifty percent head-wise, you're going to lose, lose, lose. Again, since you’re from Vegas, put it this way. It takes twenty-one sets. Seven matches, best of five. That’s twenty-one. In tennis, like cards, twenty-one’s a winner. Blackjack! Focus on that number, and you won’t go wrong. Simplify, simplify. Every time you win a set, say to yourself, That’s one down. That’s one in my pocket. At the start of a
  10. 10. NICOLAS LAVERDE 2017 tournament, count backward from twenty-one. That’s positive thinking, see? Of course, speaking for myself, when I’m playing blackjack, I’d rather win with sixteen, because that’s winning ugly. (p.187)  Simply knowing your enemy is a powerful advantage. (p.195)  Still, I make it my goal to be number one, because my team wants it. I cloister myself in Gil’s gym and train with fury. I tell him about the goal, and he draws up a battle plan. First, he designs a course of study. He sets about collecting a master list of phone numbers and addresses for the world’s most acclaimed sports doctors and nutritionists, and reaches out to all of them, turns them into his private consultants. He huddles with experts at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. He flies coast to coast, interviewing the best and brightest, famed researches on health and wellness, recording every word they tell him in his da Vinci notebooks. He reads everything, from muscle magazines to obscure medical studies and dry reports. He subscribes to the New England Journal of Medicine. In no time he makes himself a portable university, with one professor and one subject. The student body: me. (p.200)  The best Broadway actors remind me of athletes. If they don’t give their best, the know it, and if they don’t know it, the crowd lets them know it. (p.203)  Tennis is boxing. It’s violent, mano a mano, and the choice is as brutally simple as it is in any ring. Kill or be killed. Beat or take your beat-down. Tennis beatings are just deeper below he skin. (p.214)  Remember this. Hold on to this. This is the only perfection there is, the perfection of helping others. This is the only thing we can do that has any lasting value or meaning. This is why we are here. To make each other feel safe. (p.231)  Love is how we grow up, God wants us to grow up. (p.233)  (…) we’ve got a big decision to make, and we’re going to make it before we leave this room tonight. … We ain’t continuing like this. You’re better than this. At least, you used to be better. You either need to quit—or start over. But you can’t go on embarrassing yourself like this. (…) You have game left. At least I think you do. You can still win. Good things can still happen. But you need a full overhaul. You need to go back
  11. 11. NICOLAS LAVERDE 2017 to the beginning. You need to pull out of everything and regroup. I’m talking square one. … Here’s what you need to do, he says. You’d need to train like you haven’t trained in years. Hard core. You’d need to get your body right, get your mind right, then start at the bottom. I’m talking challengers, against guys who never dreamed they’d get a chance to meet you, let alone play you. (…) this is it, and it feels as if we’ve been heads here for months. Years. I stare out the window at the Stuttgart traffic. I hate tennis more than ever— but I hate myself more. I tell myself, So what if you hate tennis? Who cares? All those people out there, all those million who hate what they do for a living, they do it anyway. Maybe doing what you hate, doing it well and cheerfully, is the point. So you hate tennis. Hate it all you want. You still need to respect it—and yourself. I say, OK, Brad, I’m not ready for It to be over. I’m all in. Tell me what to do, and I’ll do it. (p.252)  Time to change (…) Out best intentions are often thwarted by external forces—forces that we ourselves set in motion long ago. Decisions, especially bad ones, create their own kind of momentum, and momentum can be a bitch to stop, as every athlete knows. Even when we vow to change, even when we sorrow and atone for our mistakes, the momentum of our past keeps carrying us down the wrong road. Momentum rules the world. Momentum says: Hold on, not so fast, I’m still running thins here. As a friend likes to say, quoting an old Greek poem: The minds of the everlasting gods are not changed suddenly. (p.253)  Mandela’s memoir, Long Walk to Freedom. Mandela (interview): No matter where you are in life, there is always more journey ahead. Mandela’s favorite quotes (poem Invictus): I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul. (p.262)  His (Mandela) theme: we must all care for one another—this is our task in life. But also we must care for ourselves, which means we must be careful in our decision, careful in our relationships, careful in our statements. We must manage our live carefully, in order to avoid becoming victims. I feel
  12. 12. NICOLAS LAVERDE 2017 as if he’s speaking directly to me, as if he’s aware that I’ve been careless with my talent and my health. He talks about racism, not just in South Africa but around the world. It’s nothing but ignorance, he says, and education is the only remedy. In prison, Mandela spent his few free hours educating himself. He created a kind of university, and he and his fellow prisoners were professors to each other. He survived the loneliness of constant confinement by reading: (…) Fort the first time in many years I’m acutely aware of my lack of education. I feel the weight of this lack, the misfortune of it. … Mandela is saying that every journey is important, and that no journey is impossible. (p.265)  A Death in the Family (a woman thinks): Now I am more nearly a grown member of the human race...she thought she had never before had a chance to realize the strength human beings have, to endure; she loved and revered all those who had ever suffered, even those who had failed to endure. This is close to what I feel as I leave Mandela. This is what I think when the helicopter lifts away from his compound. I love and revere those who suffer, who have ever suffered. I am now more nearly a grown member of the human race. God wants us to grow up. (p.266)  I got to Key Biscayne. I want to win, I’m crazy to win. It’s not like me to want a win this badly. What I normally feel is a desire not to lose. But warming up before my first-rounder, I tell myself I want this, and realize precisely why. It’s not about my comeback. It’s about my team. My new team, my real time. I’m playing to raise money and visibility for my school. After all these years I’ve got what I’ve always wanted, something to play for that’s larger than myself and yet still closely connected to me. Something that bears my name but isn’t about me. The Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy. (p.267)  One night I tell J.P. that I feel a remarkable confidence in my game, and a new purpose for being on the court—so how come I still feel all this fear? Doesn’t the fear ever go away? I hope not, he says. Fear is your fire, Andre. (p.268)  I’m in D.C. for the 1998 Legg Mason. (…) but I feel only a cool gratitude and a steely resolve, which I maintain in part by waking early every morning, writing out my goals. After putting them on paper, saying them aloud, I also say aloud: No shortcuts. (p.271)
  13. 13. NICOLAS LAVERDE 2017  Just give us twenty-eight great minutes. Brad knows my mind, the way it works. He knows that order, specificity, a clear and precise goal, are like candy to me. But does he also know the weather? For the first time it crosses my mind that Brad isn’t a coach but a prophet. (p.296)  J.P. (on the phone): Don’t try too hard, he says. Don’t try to be perfect. Be yourself. I think I know how to follow that advice on a tennis court, but on a date, I’m at a loss. Andre, he says, some people are thermometers, some are thermostats. You’re a thermostat. You don’t register the temperature in a room, you change it. So be confident, be yourself, take a charge. Show her your essential self. (p.315)  In the press room, one reporter asks why I think the New York crowd was pulling for me, cheering so loudly. I wish I knew But I take a guess: They’ve watched me grow up. (p.323)  The real blister is on my brain. (p.328)  Later I tell her (Stefanie) that I don’t understand why sometimes comer apart—still. She gives me insights from her experience. Stop thinking, she says. Feeling is the thing. Feeling. … We talk for days about thinking versus feeling. She says it’s one thing not to think, but you can’t then decide to feel. You can’t try to feel. You have to let yourself feel. (p.328)  Andre is fueled by his heart, emotions, and beliefs, and those he holds dearest to him. When all is not well you can see it in his action. (p.330)  The same court in which you suffer your bloodiest defeat can become the scene of your sweetest triumph. (p.333)  If I’ve learned nothing else, it’s that time and practice equal achievement. (p.336)  I just need someone to help me keep the focus. (p.341)  It’s easier to be free and loose, to be you-self, after laughing with the ones you love. The right attachments. (p.343)
  14. 14. NICOLAS LAVERDE 2017  He thinks it’s his day, and when you think it’s your day, it usually is. (p. 344)  I order coffee from room service, then sit at the desk and write in my journal. It’s not like me to keep a journal, but I’ve recently begun one, and it’s quickly become a habit. I’m compelled to write. I’m obsessed and it’ quickly become a habit. I’m compelled to write. I’m obsessed with leaving a record, in part because I’ve developed a gnawing fear that I won’t be around long enough for Jaden to know me. I live on airplanes, and with the world becoming more dangerous, more unpredictable, I fear that I won’t be able to tell Jaden all that I’ve seen and learned. So every night, wherever I am, I jot a few lines to him. Random thoughts, impressions, lessons learned. (p.348)  Reporters won’t let me hear the end of it. Again and again, before I leave Australia, reporters ask id I have a plan of retirement. I tell the I don’t plan ending any more than I plan beginnings. (p.350)  The next month, at the 2004 U.S. Open, I tell reporters that I think I have a shot at winning this whole thing. They smile as if I’m demented. (p.358)  Her (Stefanie) mission, her passion every day, is to create an atmosphere in which I can think solely about tennis. (p.358)  (…) retirement talk swirls again. Reporters want to know why I keep going. I explain that this is what I do for a living. I have a family and a school to support. Many people benefit from every tennis ball I hit. (p.359) … I tell reporters I have a game left. I don’t know how much, but some. I still think I can win. … Maybe they’re confused because I don’t tell hem the full story, don’t explain my full motivation. I can’t, since I’m only slowly becoming aware of it myself. I play and keep playing because I choose to play. Even if it’s not your ideal life, you can always choose it. (p.359)  I’ve heard old-times say that the fifth set has nothing to do with tennis. It’s true. The fifth set is about emotion and conditioning. Slowly I leave my body. Nice knowing you, body. I’ve had several out-of-body experiences over my career, but this one is healthy. (p.366)
  15. 15. NICOLAS LAVERDE 2017  It was their idea to have the buildings teach, to tell stories. We told them the stories we wanted told. In the middle school we wanted enormous photos of Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, and, of course, Mandela. … I dreamed of a school with the fewest possible dry routine, a place that fostered serendipity. … Our educators are the best, plain and simple. The goal in hiring them was to find sharp, passionate, inspired men and women who were willing to lay it on the line, to get personally involved. We ask one thing of every teacher: to believe that every student can learn. It sounds like a painfully obvious concept, self-evident, but nowadays it’s not. Of course, because Agassi Prep has a longer day and a longer year than other schools, our staff might earn less per hour than staffs elsewhere. But they have more resources at their fingerprints, and so they enjoy greater freedom to excel and make a difference in children’s lives. We thought it important that students wear uniforms. Tennis shirt with khakis pants, shorts, or skirt, in official school colors. (p.381)  The code of respect: The essence of good discipline is respect. Respect for authority and respect for others. Respect for self and respect for rules. It is an attitude that begins at home, Is reinforced at school, And is applied throughout life. I promise them that if they memorize that simple code, keep it close to their hearts, they will go very far. … (…) we asked them to write personal essays, which we excerpt in the program for the yearly fund-raiser. (p.382)  In the upper grades, the focus is squarely on college. The kids are told again and again that Agassi Prep is only a stepping-stone. Don’t get comfortable, we tell them. College is the main goal. Should they happen to forget, reminders are everywhere. College banners line the walls. A main hallway is named College Street. (p.383)
  16. 16. NICOLAS LAVERDE 2017  Now it’s my North Star. And that’s what I’ll tell the students. Life is a tennis match between polar opposites. Winning and losing, love and hate, open and closed. It helps to recognize that painful fact early, then recognize the polar opposites within yourself, and if you can’t embrace them, or reconcile them, at least accept them and move on. The only thing you cannot do is ignore them. (p.383)  J.R moved to Las Vegas and we got right to it. We have the same work ethic, the same obsessive all-or-nothing approach to big goals. We met each day and developed a strict routine—after wolfing down a couple of burritos, we’d talk for hours into J.R.’s tape recorder. (p.387)  I hope it helps them avoid some of the traps I walked right into. More, I hope it will be one of many books that give them comfort, guidance, pleasure. … Of all of my many mistakes that I want my children to avoid, I put that one near the top of the list. (p.388)