3. Open, written by Andre Agassi
From one of the most gifted men to ever step onto a tennis court, Open is dubbed to be among the most honest and haunting autobiographies that have ever been written in sporting history.
The former World No. 1 Andre Agassi who is credited for having single-handedly revived the popularity of tennis in the ‘90s, is at the top of his game when he narrates the story of his life with wit, intelligence, and determination to tell it as truthfully as possible.
Although he reminisces every pivotal game with near-photography memory, Open is not a blow-by-blow account of tennis matches but is the diary of a confused, ever-evolving man who is struggling with his inability to accept defeat and the love-hate relationship that he has with the game which he happens to be exceptional at.
Much more than a simple story of a well-known sports athlete, Open is a sincere lesson on life, stressing the importance of facing both highs and lows, being focused and ready to hit back harder than ever before – irrespective of a win or a loss.
4. A Life Too Short: The Tragedy of Robert Enke, written by Ronald Reng
Following a serious bout of depression in 2009, Robert Enke stepped behind a passing train and killed himself. However, to let that event itself define the former German national goalkeeper would be a genuine shame. The biography by award-winning writer Ronald Reng, who is also his close friend, sets out to define the life of the young sportsman before the tragedy.
The public eye usually tends to look past the human side of the professional athletes, what Enke’s story does is change the way sporting individuals are perceived in the world. The amount of the stress and pressure they face on a daily basis is a situation not everyone can withstand.
More importantly, A Life Too Short is a brilliant understated piece of work talking about the depression with the right restraint and sensitivity while maintaining the dignity of the subject under scrutiny.
5. Muhammad Ali: His Life and Times, written by Thomas Hauser
Widely considered as one of the most celebrated sportmen of the 20th century, Muhammad Ali aka Cassius Clay was a polarizing figure both inside and outside the boxing ring. Thomas Hauser’s biography of Muhammad Ali tells his story from the very beginning, from his very humble upbringing in Kentucky, to winning the Light Heavyweight Olympic Gold medal at the age of eighteen and claiming the World Heavyweight crown from Sonny Liston to his marriages, his stubbornness, and his refusal to retire.
This unique compilation of different people’s accounts of Ali – from more than 200 of Ali’s family members, friends, opponents, and others who have known him – emerges the story of the real man, one who was generous and religious and ultimately an extraordinary human being.