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Tuesday, December 08, 2009

You don't have to be mad to father a world-class tennis player, but it helps

Simon Mayo is a very good interviewer but he didn't have to work too hard with Andre Agassi, who was his guest today. When you're used to the evasions and clich├ęs sports stars all too often offer instead of answers, it was startling to hear a subject who was candid and didn't once hesitate or say "you know" or "kinda". He told the story that lots of athletes hint at - of a parent, in his case a waiter from Iran, who was desperate for his son to escape his own lot, even at the cost of his sanity. Agassi said his father hadn't read the book. I'm not surprised. People as driven as that don't want to know the truth. They just want to know what they need to do to succeed. A successful tennis agent says he doesn't look for talent. He looks for crazy parents.