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Andre Agassi’s biography lessons

These passages explain it all.

“I notice something on the faces of fans too. The way they watch me and ask for my autograph, the way they scream as I enter an arena, makes me uncomfortable, but also satisfies something deep inside me, some hidden craving I didn’t know was there. I’m shy—but I like attention. I cringe when fans start dressing like me—but I also dig it.”

“I had time, if I were more self-aware, I would tell journalists that I’m trying to figure out who I am, but in the meantime…”

“He 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, you need to be part engineer, part mathematician, part artist, part mystic.”

“I don’t fare well in lectures, but if all lectures were like Gil’s, I’d still be in school. I soak up every fact, every insight, confident that I’ll never forget a single word.”

“The best exercises, he says, exploit gravity. He tells me how to use gravity and resistance to break down a muscle, so it will come back stronger. He shows me how to do a proper, safe bicep curl.”

“Gil decided to master the body God gave him.”

“I’ve finally earned a brief respite from the critics, especially the internal ones.”

“They’re confused, uncertain, insecure, and often hate what they do. It’s something we always hear—like that old adage that money can’t buy happiness—but we never believe it until we see it for ourselves. Seeing it in 1992 brings me a new measure of confidence.”

“Another prodigy who didn’t have a childhood.”

“Still, as the first few games unfold, I realize that several things are in my favor. Martin is better on grass than hard court. This is my surface. Also, like me, he’s an underachiever. He’s a fellow slave to nerves. I understand the man I’m playing, therefore, understand him intimately. Simply knowing your enemy is a powerful advantage.”

“My father is nothing if not consistent.”

“Also, I’ve allowed myself to get sidetracked by sportswriters and fans who don’t understand, who count the number of slams a player won and use that bogus number to gauge his legacy.”

“I’ve been gunning for Becker, and now the moment is here.”

“This is why we’re here. To fight through the pain and, when possible, to relieve the pain of others. So simple. So hard to see.”

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