To me, sports is not about trophies. It’s not about money. It’s not about saying you’re better than somebody else. The beauty of sports is who it makes you become. It’s about character. Watch the recent Tennis Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony with one of my favorite athletes, the great Andre Agassi. Enjoy.


I was fortunate enough to get an advance copy of Patrick McEnroe’s new book, “Hardcourt Confidential,” which comes out in stores June 8th.

In this book, McEnroe talks about his twenty years on the pro tour as a player, coach and ESPN commentator.

I loved the stories of Agassi, Connors, Johnny Mac, Sampras, Federer, Nadal and others, especially the mental side of the game. Here is an excerpt from one of Patrick McEnroe’s matches when he was on tour…

Let me go back to 1991, before we leave Australia, to finish the story of my best run in singles at a major event. In the semis, I had Boris Becker by a set and I wrangled my way to a couple of break points early in the second; I could have gone up 4-2 if I converted either of them. But somewhere in there I clearly remember saying to myself, Shit, I could be in the Australian Open finals…

And that’s exactly when the wheels started to fall off — and Becker was too good a player not to jump in and help finish the job.

So folks, mental weakness happens to the pros, too.

Do I recommend this book?


In fact, if you are in the Princeton area on June 12 at 3pm, Patrick McEnroe will be doing a book signing at Barnes & Noble MarketFair. See you there.


One thing that I have learned here in Orlando talking to some great coaches and mental toughness experts is this…

Champions are not normal.

They don’t have normal brains.

Lorenzo Beltrame shared a story about when he beat Pete Sampras twice on clay during a training session. He didn’t know how to console “Pistol” but before he could think of something, Pete said “This is great! I feel like I’m playing well and ready!”

That is not normal.

And last night I spent some time with Mark Dickson, former World #32, who has beaten Lendl and was even Agassi’s doubles partner. He was telling me about the days leading up to his match with Lendl, then #1 in the world. He visualized his strategy every day and EXPECTED to beat him. In his mind, he thought, “I can’t believe I’m going to beat the World #1.” And then he did in 45 minutes. I asked Dickson if he ever went into a match thinking he didn’t have a chance. He said “No.” And when he did lose, he thought, “What a great learning experience!”

That is not normal!

Well today I will be wrapping up a great 2.5 days at the Human Performance Institute and heading back home. Next stop, Philadelphia!

Have a great day everyone!

Homework: Don’t be normal today.


Recently, at the “Hit for Haiti” charity exhibition in California, the Andre Agassi – Pete Sampras rivalry continued…verbally. There was teasing, mimicking and violent intent.

In the video below, Sampras makes fun of Agassi’s walk and then Agassi proceeds to make fun of Sampras’ reputation of being a stingy tipper. After that, Pistol Pete hit a hard, flat serve right at Andre when he was supposed to be serving to Agassi’s doubles partner, Rafael Nadal. Apologies have been made, but there is still tension between the two former champions.

I understand keeping a light air when playing an exhibition, and as much a fan I am of Andre, what he said was uncalled for (even though he talked about Sampras’ tipping in his book, “Open”). But Pete had just as poor judgement when he tried to hit Agassi with a serve. Come on guys, we’re role models here.

Watch the video below and leave your comments…Happy St. Paddy’s Day and Happy Birthday to one of my Special Olympics athletes, gold medalist, Brad Abouchedid.


“I only care about being better than yesterday.”
-ANDRE AGASSI, author of “Open”

Is Andre Agassi a crystal meth addict?
Is Andre Agassi just trying to sell a lot of books?
Is Andre Agassi a cheater?

Everyone has their own opinion on the hottest topic in the sports world.

Here’s mine…

I don’t believe that taking “crystal meth” was right. (Andre didn’t even know what it was – his personal assistant mixed it for him.)

I don’t believe he should have lied about it.

Andre’s message is about choices, about second chances.

We’ve all made mistakes in our lives, but not all of us are in the public eye.

Everyone thinks that when he was playing on tour with his long hair and neon clothing, he was expressing himself.

He wasn’t.

He was exploring himself.

He didn’t know who he was. That’s probably part of the reason why he experimented with crystal meth.

He was lonely on tour…on the court. He was depressed. He was living someone else’s life.

But one day, he decided to play tennis for himself. He made a conscious choice. That’s when his whole world changed.

He started really loving the game.

He started bowing to the crowd after every match (now everyone does it).

He started going all out.

Andre said that he only likes money so he can help others.

I truly believe that.

Andre wants others to learn from his mistakes.

I truly believe that.

Andre wants to provide education and opportunity to those in need.

I truly believe that.

Andre didn’t enjoy most of his victories, but he enjoyed winning the US Gold Medal because it was for his country.

I truly believe that.

I don’t know enough about Andre Agassi to say whether he is a good or a bad person. I don’t know what his intentions are.

But I am pretty confident that he, and his book speak from the heart.

I truly believe that he wants to help others, and how can you blame someone for that?

Andre Agassi believes that he is just like you and me…

“We’re all swimming to Hawaii; you may get farther than me, but nobody’s making it.”

Make the most of today. Make the most of your life.

It’s not too late.

Thanks for reading.


Andre and “Center Stage” host, Michael Kay

“Game. Set. Life.” Only on Yes!

Andre reading “Game. Set. Life.”

Yesterday was one of the best days of my life.

I was invited to a private taping of the “Center Stage” show in New York City.

The host: Michael Kay
The guest: Andre Agassi
My seat: Second row, center

I don’t know where to begin. This may have to be more than one blog entry.

I think the most important message Andre wants to convey is that we all have choices…and it’s never too late.

Andre CHOSE his life at age 27. Before that he was forced to play tennis and hated it. But then he hit bottom and then had to choose between hanging up the racquet, or going all out.

He chose to go all out.

He re-dedicated himself and got back to the top of the tennis world.

We all make our own choices. And we have to take risks.

Agassi says, “Anything worthwhile in life comes with a risk…this book was a risk. Some people may read it and like it, and others may not. If I can inspire one person, give one person hope, my job is done. In my life, I was finally happy to change myself – that was the only thing I could control.”

“I was gonna hang in until I had nothing left to give.”

I really like that quote.

Andre went all out and at the end of his career, he was satisfied. It was the end of that chapter in his life. He had no regrets.

And that’s what this blog is all about…are you going to go all out or hold back.

Andre’s final words…

“It’s never too late…go out and get it.”

Thanks for reading.


“Nothing can substitute for just plain hard work. I had to put in the time to get back. And it was a grind. It meant training and sweating every day. But I was completely committed to working out to prove to myself that I still could do it.”

Today I am going to a private taping of “Center Stage” in New York City. Host Michael Kay will be doing a one-on-one interview with my favorite all-time tennis player, the great Andre Agassi.

I’ll be sure to ask a good question and donate a copy of my book to his prep school in Las Vegas.

Hard work was obviously part of Andre’s success, but you’re going to have to wait til tomorrow’s blog message to find out the rest…


Yesterday, Melanie Oudin did it again at the US Open.

The 17 year-old from Georgia scored yet another upset, by beating Nadia Petrova.

I hope by reading my blog messages this past week, you are starting to believe that anything is possible on and off the court. Many great players have lost to no-name players. It’s not about the ranking, it’s about who plays better on that day.

In my book, “Game. Set. Life.” I talk about Brad Gilbert’s philosophy, according to Andre Agassi…

“One of the biggest things I’ve gotten from Brad is how to stay in a match when things aren’t going my way. He believes that 5 percent of the time your opponent is in the zone and you won’t win; 5 percent of the time you’re in the zone and you can’t lose. But the other 90 percent of the time, it’s up for grabs; there is a way to win. You’ve got to figure out what that is. And to do that you’ve got to stay positive. You’ve got to believe.”

Melanie Oudin is certainly following that philosophy.

In fact, written on her pink and yellow Adidas Barricade tennis shoes is this…


Thanks for reading.


Today’s message is especially dedicated to the great Michael Sachs, PhD at Temple University.

“I miss the relationships. I miss my peers. I miss the fans being up close and personal and being able to impact their day for a couple hours. But I’ve also chosen to look at my life as a canvas to impact people for a lot longer than that. You don’t get the immediate feedback, but your life’s work truly has a bigger relevance than just a break from their day when they come out to watch you. This is about real change and real impact.”

The quote above was from a recent New York Times article.

Andre Agassi was always my favorite tennis player. I remember when he first came up and had that long hair and wore those denim Nike shorts. All he had was that big forehand.

He’s come a long way since the 80s. He went from punk to professional. He turned into a class act. I really liked Andre as a player, but I like him even more now that he’s retired.

He has started a charter school in Las Vegas in a rough neighborhood so that underprivileged children could attend college and have a brighter future. He’s making a difference and seeing how the rewards are greater than all the money and trophies he won on the tour.

Very few of my students will go on and be as successful as Andre on the tennis court, but ALL of my students can go on and become as successful as Andre off the court. The lessons you learn and the challenges you face in sports will help you in all areas of life. And remember, it’s about others.

Beginning Sunday, I will be in New York City, speaking at the USTA Tennis Teachers Conference on Monday, August 31st at the Grand Hyatt and then I will be doing a book signing at the US Open on September 1st (I will be Billie Jean King’s opening act). Monday evening they will be honoring Andre Agassi and others for their philanthropic work after retiring. Hopefully I will get a chance to see him.

To read the full article:

Thanks for reading.