Andre Agassi Opens Up On His Life Story, Drug Abuse, Mental Health & Sports Mentality | TRS 110 | Transcription

Transcription for the video titled "Andre Agassi Opens Up On His Life Story, Drug Abuse, Mental Health & Sports Mentality | TRS 110".


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Intro (00:00)

They say that Andre Agassi's autobiography, 'Open', is the best sports autobiography ever written. The reason is Andre's not so normal life, his not so normal experiences. Being one of the best in the world at something he didn't really enjoy growing up. How do you even do that? How do you become world class at something you don't really enjoy? This is the Andre Agassi story, especially for those who haven't read 'Open', but also for those who have. I asked him some of the deepest questions that sports fans would want to know, but I also asked him about life, about what he's doing after retirement, about all the businesses he's creating, about all his learnings from the sports world that he's applying in the business world, that he's applying in the world of edtech very interestingly. This is Andre Agassi on The Ranveer Show. Tennis fans, you guys are going to love this one. Andre Agassi, Namaste from India. Absolute honour, absolute pleasure having you on the show. It is great to be here. I was just in India a few weeks back and it's nice that we can stay connected now from even a distance if we have to. Yes, and it's great for people like myself. I get to be connected to people like you through the internet. Beautiful times. Didn't think about this in 2003 when I saw you playing tennis. Never thought that I'd be speaking to you one day. So many questions about you, man. I mean, people know about your story through 'Open'. Everyone even knows what was happening in the background. When we're speaking about that book, 'Open', it's an autobiography. It's considered a heavy autobiography. If you had to summarise that entire autobiography into one paragraph, how would you do it? Well, I would say that the book was designed for me to understand my own life through a literary lens, to make sense of a whirlwind that I could never sort of reconcile all my conflicts and contradictions. And the book actually evolved into a human journey that we all, while we do have different experiences, we all share the same journey. It was about fear and love being the great motivators. It was about taking ownership of one's life even though one didn't choose it. It's about that coming of age. In some cases, it's a recovery story from success to failure to success. So when I realised that this book, you don't learn about me as much as you learn about yourself, then I felt compelled to see it through. I believe everyone's born with a purpose. Everyone's life boils down to a few purposes. What's the purpose of your life, according to you at this stage? That's a pretty broad question, but if I had to try to be narrow about it, my hope in life, both when I was on the court, also my philanthropic work and also my businesses and personal life, if I interact with somebody, I want their life being better off for it. So I always try to stop in every moment, break down every engagement into these moments where you can really, maybe it's a kind word, maybe it's a life commitment, like what I've done in education. Maybe it's a, you know, it's but it's always personal. It's always meaningful. And you always have the opportunity of making somebody's life better off for that engagement. So I take it one step at a time, knowing that, you know, the accumulation of that sort of engagement really leads to life changing stuff. Beautiful. Do you have any idea about how many fans you have in India? Well, I felt it when I'm there. You know, I felt it across the world playing. You know, I've ran into many of them over the years and yeah, I've always felt very embraced, which is a wonderful feeling. Is there anything you kind of take away from Indian culture for your own head or for your own mentality? I do. I just, I find the culture to be a very peaceful one, you know, and I don't think anybody's process needs to be the same if your intentions are the same, you know, and that's what we just talked about. So you really feel that spirit when you're there, you know, regardless where somebody is in life, you know, there's a sense of peace, calm and stability to it.

Andre Agassi'S Personal Life And Career

Food preferences (04:45)

So I've always appreciated that. And I think second to that would be, would be the food. What do you like eating? What's your favorite Indian dish? Oh my gosh, the spicier the better, man. I'm going vindaloo all day, every day, twice on Sundays. You got to try luck now we food the next time you're here. Have you ever heard? So Lucknow was a part of North India. The cuisine was built for Kings built as designed for Kings. So you've got like meat that's as soft as like toothpaste, the most complex kebabs, fantastic food. I'm vegetarian now, but that's that one part of, you know, non vegetarian food that I really miss Lucknow. Oh, sounds magical. You spoke about calm, peace. You spoke about the spirit within the human, honest to God. I mean, you know, I wasn't old enough to see you in the early nineties. I was born in 1993, but I have seen videos. And what I've picked up is that you had a lot of fire, even when you were playing your flamboyant, but you played with a lot of fire. And then over the years, you kind of learned how to manage that fire even better. So would you agree? Well, if I said that, like that, as you went forward, not just in your career, but also in your life, like I think peace and stability, something you value a lot as of now, but it wasn't always the case. So back in the early nineties, what was going on in your head?

The evolution of Andre Agassi (06:15)

Well, I think really, if you want to go back to the early nineties, you almost have to go back to the beginning, you know, because the beginning was a very strong disconnect between me and the sport of tennis. You know, I was the youngest of four children. My father was, let's just call him very intense, to say the least. And he saw tennis as the fastest road to the American dream. You know, so he was pushing all of his kids without, even if it was compromising relationships. And, you know, I was sort of the last one where all the pressure sort of fell onto. But I also had the, I also had that lens to see what tennis was doing to the relationships and to the feeling inside the home. And I resented that at an early age. I really resented it because I didn't choose tennis. You know, my father sort of imposed it on me. And, you know, that disconnect only grew and continued and eventually morphed into this, you know, the biggest controversy in my book, which came on page one, which is that I hated tennis, you know, with a very dark and secret passion. You know, at 13, my father sent me away to a tennis academy, you know, and it was 3,000 miles away from home. So it was like a military, you know, boot camp, you know, pecking order, depending on how you played. And, and again, I felt abandoned, I felt left, I felt separated, I felt more resentment. And then the only way to succeed was, the only way to get out of that environment was to succeed. And so I was always motivated by this, by this anxiety and this, in this fear kind of based, you know, inspiration that, that even when I turned pro didn't go away. Even when I won didn't go away because here I was on a world stage, kind of being told who I was. And, and, and I didn't even know who I was, you know, so that, that disconnect with tennis really gave me a strong resentment, you know, towards it. So I think my journey overall that I am most proud about was that, was that journey through all that fear in the first part of my career as the motivator to a point where I gave myself permission to quit at number one in the world.

Second Part of His Career (08:30)

Being getting the number one in the world, to a point where I fell and had to make a real strong decision in my life, and that decision was either, you know, retire or, or find my reason right and I didn't have anything to fall back on so I think in part of that second half of that journey, finding that ownership and connection to something larger than me that was still connected to me was the transformation that happened it didn't happen overnight, but no question led to a second half of my career that was a lot more successful both from an accomplishment standpoint but also internally, I was able to take in a lot more moments through a lens of, of, of that connection not just with my purpose but also, you know, with the people that were there so there was a win for me all the way around but that transformation was clear, and it was played out in front of the world. What happened at that point of transformation at that pivot, you know what went on in your head was the external influences, how did you kind of change your perception of things. So, as my father used to introduce me to people when I was seven years old as a future number one tennis player in the world, you can imagine the pressure that you feel is on your shoulders and, and there I was knocking down tournaments and going up in the rankings and winning championships and getting the number one and, and every time I won. It was such a clear. It was such a clear fact that that wasn't going to do it for me you know it didn't scratch this that disconnect I was talking about and I kind of had in my mind, being number one probably would at least I hoped it would. And then I remember getting the number one and I remember that feeling so distinctly and that that feeling quite honestly was, was, was nothing you know and and when I had that I knew there was nothing for me to do on a tennis court that would ever satisfy what I was looking for and I had enough success, where I could walk away from the game but instead of sort of stepping up and making that decision then I kind of went on the spiral you know I kind of stopped caring for a couple years I started doing things I probably shouldn't do. And I knew I was, I was tail of you know I was in a tailspin, and the world was just watching my ranking fall you know and I got to 140 in the world, which sounds amazing from one perspective but when you go from number one you know you feel like a complete failure and I had to ask for wildcards you know for tournaments to let me play because I wasn't ranked high enough to get in and I remember one term where I did get in through a wildcard and then I lost first round, exactly how I should have really quick and wasn't prepared and you know my coach kind of confronted me you know my coach sort of put me in a room and said, you know, we're gonna you're too good to do this to yourself, we're gonna either retire, or we're going to start over you know and and then my mind started spinning and I never hated tennis so much as I did in that moment because I was good at it. And then I failed at it, I hated it when I was good at it, and now I even hate it that much more as I feel like a, you know, like I've like I've failed and I remember looking at a lot of people, you know, out, out through the window a lot of people walk in the streets a lot of cars and I remember asking questions to myself, you know, what do they do, and why do they do it, you know, and did they choose it you know and it's sort of beg the question does any of us really choose our life, you know, do we really ever choose it do we choose where we're born. Do we choose who our parents are do we choose what our strengths and weaknesses are, do we, do we, do we choose how they're nurtured or how they're, you know, they're stifled you know, so so much that we don't choose in our life. But it occurred to me just because you don't choose it doesn't mean that you can't take ownership of it that you can find your reason. Right, so that was the, that was a confrontational point inside myself. That made me say my epiphany is I'm going to find my reason I'm gonna find what motivates me what inspires me, not based out of fear but but but but the complete opposite which is love and, and I remember seeing this show on 60 minutes and in America, it was about this charter school operators these two great guys I gotten to know pretty well over the years, Michael Feinberg and David Levin. It's called the KIPP program knowledge is power program they have about 200 schools in America. And I remember I seen them taking these children who had nothing who had, you know, absolutely nothing, who are being relegated to an education that was bought by far less than other kids and these were these were kids that really didn't have choice. You know I looked at him I said, geez, here I am complaining about being number one in the world. And here it is because I didn't choose to as and here it is these kids can't even have a chance in life, any hope, because of their circumstances. And, and with with what does these guys were doing. They were changing generationally that that sort of, you know, activity there, there, their result of not having choice means gangs and means incarceration and means means all sorts of stuff and, and it just clicked for me I said you know this is what I need to do I need to take everything that I've suffered everything that I've learned, and I need to transfer it into children that really don't have choice and that's it was like overnight when I got into education and doing my own charter school and the most impoverished neighborhood of my city which is a large growing so fifth largest school district in America. And, and that connection I had between using what I suffered for so many years using it to change lives of those kids that are really living circumstances far worse than I lived. I identified and connected with it. And as a result that sort of became my, my fuel and then when I got out of my own way and put my eyes on something else. Tennis didn't seem so personal anymore you know it seemed seemed like it was just an opportunity for me to, you know, not just raise resources and but but also to have a platform to talk about what's really important, you know, and that and that that gave me another 10 years in the game with with far more success and farm and far more, you know, connection.

Influence (14:43)

This is your purpose, spreading inspiration, spreading these kind of mentality based stories, I personally feel like every human has two phases when it comes to purpose. The first is building your own platform, building it yourself with the tools that you're given by God by the universe. And once you're standing on that platform that's when you do your thing called the higher purpose. So maybe that platform you built up for yourself was tennis, then you found your higher purpose which is spreading joy in the world, making the world a better place. Well I certainly hope, hope so you know but I think the one area that I kind of realized is, you know, we're part of this, this journey together whether we choose to accept it or not. You know what you do whether it's good or bad you know will will, you know, dictate a lot of your, you know, it will dictate, you know, the joy you feel it will dictate the impact you have it will dictate, you know, so many things so it's like if we if we can't help but be a part of this participation, you know, then why not choose, you know, making an impactful difference, even if it's just a smile or helping somebody on a daily basis. I mean, I've been, maybe you could say I've been blessed because I have a platform I can reach more people, but but truly reaching one is just as important and and and so that's what kind of pushes my, you know, my buttons and, you know, my buttons and education to me is crucial because I think when you expect a lot from a child, it means you, you think a lot of a child and, and what greater, not to, not to reduce children to a commodity but what greater commodity exists in the world and our future right and our future our children so that you know there's so much to be said for when a brain is nimble and elastic and the spirit is open and willing to be able to deliver to them. And I think children are a great, great example of that. Yeah, I don't think too many people are aware of all the work you're doing in India with Square Panda so I mean, I wouldn't want to take people through that let you take people through it, but I'd also just want to add this one thing before you begin, which is that, you know, you speak so much about elevating children probably elevating people younger than yourself. Do you feel like you're trying to do it for that younger version of yourself in your heart, you're like you know maybe I was just pushed into this one thing, but let's allow children to blossom in multiple directions so is that a part of everything you're doing. I think it. I think my intensity of activity is a result of how much I empathize and connect to those children Yes. I also believe my lack of education was a huge part of my source of angst in my life and my lack of options my lack of feeling self worth you know that what I feel actually matters right so all those experiences definitely sticks gasoline on the fire that burns you know within me to make a difference in those children and and and everything I gone through as a tennis player because tennis you don't have to be good you just have to be better than one person right so you're always problem solving problem solving and when you take the skill sets that I learned as a tennis player and then you get to the point where you're like, I'm not going to play this game.

Loot Venture Kids Early Childhood Literacy (18:12)

When you take the skill sets that I learned as a tennis player and then you take the empathy that I have towards children that feel probably even deeper and worse than I ever felt, you know, you combine them and it's amazing what you know what, how the story is played out because I built this school in Las Vegas. I had 1200 kids in the school, and I had 3000 on the waiting list. So as, as a tennis player, I sort of say, that makes me twice the failure. I am the success I mean, there's, we got to figure out a way to help, help, help these kids that want want to help and you know I wasn't an educator I wasn't an operator, but I was a facilitator, I mean I really facilitated this dream for 1200 children. I need to think outside the box and so you know long story short, you know I figured out that we can't wait for the government entirely. We can't really wait for philanthropy entirely, because it's hard for that to scale, but we still have a private sector that can innovate and solve and what I realized is when you have a huge societal daunting problem, going to the private sector is a necessary working component to the scale and sustainability of reaching more children. And so what I did is I put together with a gentleman in Southern California this this charter school facility fund, where we took private dollars we invested it into the best in class operators and built their school, because in America, the money from the state follows a child to your school. So we know we have the demand of the child needing a good education. We know we have teachers that want a good learning friendly environment. We know all the components are there, everybody wants all parents want a great educational seat. So if we can bring this money and build a school in a tough neighborhood on day one, it's going to be filled well there's a certain amount of revenue there. So we put together this business model that doesn't ride the backs of parents doesn't ride the backs of our school system doesn't ride the backs of, you know, the children, but it doesn't ask people to give away their money so it's this nice healthy relationship. So it took me 15 years to build one school. And in the last, you know, eight to nine years, we built 125 across America. Right, so it's reaching more kids hundred thousand kids more or less. And with that, and watching all these great operators. I saw the central sore spot, the central sore spot was early childhood literacy and English second language learning. And so every great teacher, every great school has to focus on this and they all know it they all know it and because if you when you cross that Rubicon from, you know, learning to read to read to learn. And so it's a huge leap forward while other kids are just trying to learn to read trying to learn to read, and they don't speak English at home they need to learn English and so we, you know, help build this tech company about six years ago, called square panda. It's a digital platform with real neuroscience backed information we have the knowledge I went to Stanford University. I met with Bruce McCandless I met with the experts in the neurology space, and they know how to individually work with every brain, so that we can have a learning curve of learning English or literacy right so I'm saying we have this information. We don't have a distribution vehicle. So put together this technology company that can actually meet every child, where they're at in real time with AI and it's faster and faster to adjust to the topography of every child's brain, so that we're working on where they're weak and and and where they're strong, we're using it to speed up that process and every child's brain and every person's brain works differently in a way that's in the real time space where you learn the alphabet you learn these words. It's not that we have to figure out phonological awareness we have to figure out, you know, so many like there's like eight vectors of activity going on, and the, and I realize that there's a way to solve for that individualized personalized teaching in a real time basis to help speed up the act of learning English, or, you know, becoming very literate in it you know it's a it's 21st century you know communication skills right learning skills to communicate I believe everybody should stay in their mother tongue unquestionably. But if you can communicate in English, you know, it only adds to, you know, your, the great opportunities and takes takes people out of a certain walk of life and moves them into the next so when I when I when I when I really saw this, the efficacy of what we're doing. Beautiful. I mean, I've got to highlight your past again, they say that when you're going through that little level of human suffering, you're suffering for the sake of preventing the suffering for future versions of yourself. That's pretty much what you're doing in your work, you know you highlighted the fact that every kid's brain is different. Probably when you're playing tennis as a kid when you were learning and getting better at it you're like okay I'm getting better at this but I wish I was taught in this different way. And maybe that's resulted in this business at this point of your life. I'm a big fan of learning something that in 10 minutes that took somebody 10 years, and I'm even a bigger fan of teaching somebody, what's taken me a decade, and you know in to teach them in 10 minutes, because I believe that's the way it should be. When speaking about teaching and learning. I have to highlight tennis in your life, because that's the activity that you're known as the activity that's attached to your name. So the overall sport of tennis, while I'm sure that it teaches you so many things, if you had to highlight three things that changed you as a person. What would you highlight. Well, geez, I think if you if you thought you were going somewhere with that question but then you made it so clear at the end what what are the three things that have changed my life. It's the same three things that have changed probably everybody's life which is our three, three people I mean it's always, it's always a person that has the most impact on you, you know, it's always a. It's always that right so ultimately my trainer, as an example, for 21 years professionally he acted as my father more, more than anything, although he helped me become a better athlete.

Personal Lessons from Tennis (25:32)

He was the first one to make me feel like I was worth being cared about, you know, and then how, what kind of price tag you put on that, you know, when you grow up, not feeling that way right so he would be one my wife would be another, you know, here's a person that you know has taught me how to live every day what it is you value and how to, you know, talk less about it and do more about it, you know, and I mean that's that's that's incredible you know my brother, you know my brother through those early years on the road I mean, I didn't have him with me on the road I mean, you know, I don't think I could have made it through right so it's like it's always people that change the most but as far as the sport goes I mean it teaches you so many things you know, it teaches you, as I mentioned the problem solving aspect you know it teaches you discipline. It teaches you how to really go within and, and the most intense moments because you don't have anybody out there you know you can't talk to anybody you can't pass the ball you know again. You can't call a timeout you know you have to just, you have to find a way so it teaches you how to kind of be quiet and the most in the loudest moments you know what I mean and it teaches you. It's, it's remarkable what what you learn from, you know from tennis I've taken it and applied it to my mission in life and certainly all my activities. Under do you think that then is also taught you mentor toughness and when you're speaking one mentor toughness as a subject. Do you think that the future children of the world should be taught mentor toughness in some form. That's an interesting question you know I mean, yeah, I mean I think it does teach it to you, but it doesn't teach it to you in a silo. You know, it teaches it to you because what you end up realizing is you need to understand your identity. Because if your identity is tied to what the scoreboard says, you, you are always going to struggle, mentally. You know, so I think it gets to your mind through your spirit because you can't just teach a kid, how to be mentally tough.

Honour Space (27:49)

But if you teach a kid who their identity really is, who they really are, then it gives them a platform to learn how to apply their, their mind through their already given identity right so I think without that component, you don't, you don't have that component, you don't, it's hard to become mentally tough, it's hard to remove the ego, it's hard to, you know, to, to hear things objectively it's hard to, you know, once, once you understand that tennis is what you do it's not who you are. You can then be a vehicle for whatever talent you have, and then your mind is allowed to be at its best you know so I think it's, I think it's a real holistic approach that we need to, we need to do, you know, with our children and that's why I love what's going on, you know, you know with square panda because it's, it's giving every individual child that that many success story that they can do it, that they're good it's it really reinforces all the tools they need. From an identity standpoint, and from a success step to step standpoint, that that being tough mentally is a function of gone, you know I've been through this before I accomplished this I never thought I was capable of it. I can do this now you know and so I think it all kind of kind of works together. And did you think that your generation was tougher than the current generations, because I mean, we had social media growing up, and that's completely changed the way the human mind operates, whether I'm speaking I'm not just speaking about you as a teenager I'm also speaking about you in your 20s.

How has your life changed since retirement? (29:31)

I'm sure you guys had your own set of challenges and your own handicaps compared to this generation. But this generations also got some curses of itself. So when it comes to mental health. How do you think things were different for you guys, as compared to now. Well, I mean, it's a lot different. You know social media is a double edged sword you know and it's, it's a weapon. If you use it wrong. And it's a powerful tool if you use it correctly, you know, I mean, it's it's like it's like a car I mean, you can use a car and do a lot of damage or you can use it to be very you know productive and but I think the discipline in it. And the, the parameters that you need to stick around it is again tied to, you know who you are versus what you're looking to be validated for, you know what I mean. And I think social media if you have that sort of deficiency of, of identity, whether it's through how you were raised or whether it's through your value system. I think social media then becomes highly more important, and you become reactive to your life, as opposed to proactive so I do think it's a very dangerous field of landmines. I think it is tougher. These days in many ways, because you're, you can be so distracted, you know, and you can underestimate how much energy you're putting in to, to, to something that isn't isn't that you don't recognize like directly you know so you know in tennis you have to, you have to train you have to rest, you have to eat, you have to take care of your body you have to, you know, you have to do so many things that that if in between all this, your, your mind is focused on, on other things. I think, I just don't think there's enough room to be the most of yourself without that, without that, that piece being, you know, locked and I know a lot of players these days who were were raised very clear on this, and as a result, they're not defined by it and then I know other players that are really defined by how they're perceived. And that's really looking for validation from the wrong places and I don't think that helps you in the biggest of moments on the tennis court when you're alone. How do you switch off from the fame that you get along the way like have you seen the I'm sure you've seen Rocky, and you've seen the Rocky movies, you know, Rocky, part three where he loses to clubber Lang, because he kind of becomes soft. I mean, I would assume that happens to like every athlete in the world at some point where you kind of become a little soft. So the question is how do you switch off from the fame, and also if you're in the middle of a really important match. How do you switch off from the crowd and just keep it between you the ball and your opponent. Well, those are kind of two separate questions although they're very, you know, they can appear very similar you know when you talk about separating from the crowd. Big moments a lot of distractions. You know, you, you learn this you learn that I have to, I can't control everything. But there's certain things I can control and if I control those things better than my opponent, then I have an advantage right so it, but it's the same thing that drives you in training you know you train alone, and you're saying to yourself, Well, geez, I don't know what my opponent's doing so somewhere deep inside of yourself. You push yourself a little bit more so you end up becoming a tortured perfectionist when it comes to those sorts of skill sets and you know in in in tennis but you know separating the fame and the work is is a fundamental perspective. I mean, it's it's a fundamental engagement in life that that you don't see yourself as as better than anybody else, or better off than anybody else, you know, you see yourself as as part of a tapestry I'm just, I'm just part of this and it's a privilege to give somebody a break from their life for two hours and now it's a privilege for me to hopefully change a generation right so it's all about that sort of perspective and I don't know, you know, kids learn more from me than what you tell them I know that from raising two children, and you know, 19 and 17 years old now. And the same thing I think for you know for adults I think, you know, the mentorships that that that really seem to exist and those that have a healthy system and perspective seem to be very clear and defined and those that sort of float around more with their own sense of who they are, you know, you can, you can see that there's not any established really somebody who's walking it out with them on a daily basis you know, because that's where you really learn you really learn by seeing how somebody reacts in certain situations then somebody telling you how you should react in a certain situation you know I mean it's like that to me is, you know, I've always said you know, rules without relationship, leads to rebellion, you know, and that's the way it is in raising children. That's the way it is in developing friendships and relationships, you know, you just can't sort of say, this is how we're going to do it. You have to, you have to be willing to meet somebody where they are, understand where they are and then help them take the next step and that's I think that's where mentorship coaching I think all those things are need to be very nuanced. And what about when you're playing the match in that tennis meditation, you know how about, could you describe that a little bit. Yeah, I can I can say that the first thing you learn in tennis is the last thing you learn in tennis, which is, you know, watch the ball. Focus on the ball. Move your feet. And the reason why it's so simple about that activity. The rest, the rest comes through right so yeah I've played so many matches and guys have played so many matches that they seem like they're making all these decisions but a lot of them are, are sort of seared into the balance that they're just applying you know and and and what they're really focused on is, is a basic activity, you know, and every treating and treating every point the same, so that every point is important so that when the point really does get important. You're not changing anything you're just continuing what you do you know I remember one time talking to Carl Lewis, who used to be one of the fastest man in the world and I asked him why are you always passing people like at 60 meters I mean what like, how come like what's your, what's your strength that makes you get faster like that and he says I don't get faster because I just don't slow down. Everybody else slows down. And it's so fascinating so true and you know in life he says, what he's doing is he's just running so perfectly. He's taking care of everything he needs to everybody else is sort of dealing with other things. And sure enough, you know he ends up, he ends up, you know, he ends up winning so that's why I always try to remember if you just control your controllables, you know, as much as you can.

What is the key to happiness? (37:10)

And then focus on the simple things, and then let your, let your life experiences play out in a very natural way it comes together. So do the basics and stay in the moment. That's probably what I get from your answer. Yes, the most important point is the next one it's not the last one. That's the it's the next one and it's not the one that you're imagining, you know, two hours from now it's, it's the one right here now. How was your life after you retired, how is it right now and was there an evolution even in that phase because I feel like you're a thinker you're an analyzer you're an observer. So I'd love to know what happened, and I also see a lot of joy in your eyes at this phase of your life. So I'd love to know how you achieve this kind of joy. I don't know I'd be so alternative I mean I have my moments right I mean. Listen, some, some days I wake up and I say, it's just going by too fast I mean it's just, you know, it's just going by too fast and then, and then that that only is the stimulus for me to say well then make the most of what today can be you know, and the best way for me to do that is to care about what we're talking about right now you know that's, that's the best way for me to maximize the day right now right so it's, I think it's a muscle built, but it's also a discipline of of activation

The leadership and activism (38:11)

and discipline, it's a discipline of application right so you have to, you have to apply it, you have to, you have to be quiet, you have to recognize moments for what they are and you have to be present in them and and and and and joy can come along on the sidelines you know it's that's kind of how how how it's felt to me. Okay, Andre we've got to move to the final section of the podcast which is all the Twitter was question so this is sort of like a rapid fire round, just like quick questions from all your Indian fans. Twitter India lost its mind when they found out that Andre Agassi is on an Indian podcast, so man from the bottom of my heart. Firstly, thank you. Secondly, okay Nikita power, that's the first question she asks, what does Andre think of the big three dominating the sport right now, and when do you think the next gen will finally take over. Well, what I think we're in an amazing time if you think about what we got had to watch I mean, have had the privilege of watching over the last, you know, 15 years I mean you've watched three guys when 2040 58 grand slams and what is that 14 years almost of grand sounds are only three guys are winning it and they're having to beat each other so first thing that crosses my mind Can you imagine if one of these guys was playing tennis during an era when the other two weren't there. I mean, how many would they would they possibly have it's pretty remarkable and to have the best on hardcore the best on grass the best on clay it's like, wow, and the pattern in the same generation. Wow, I mean, it's, you know it's it's lights out it took 70 years for five people to win all the grand slams I was the fifth person to do it. It's, it took, you know, just that generation and then there's three that have done it you know so there's there's so many ways to categorize how impressive it is but the next gen is on its way I mean you see them last week was this past winning and Monte Carlo. I mean, you look at mevitive pushing knocking on the door of all these slams and you look at the rav you look at the I mean, these guys, you know, they realize that I think they realize now that they can't afford to respect the top three, as much as they have been, they need to start, you know, owning it, and then pushing themselves that next level. I don't know when that's going to happen. Obviously I can't make any predictions, but I do believe we're in process of, of seeing, seeing some of those new gen players push into the, into the top.

One thing Steffi Grafs taught Andre (40:57)

You think it's that cutthroat mentality that they need to kind of embrace. You have to believe it. I mean, I'll give you an example, you know, I turned pro at 16, and, and I broke into the top three in the world in two years when I was 18 years old. Didn't want to slam till I was 22. And Pete and Chang, because I, because they saw me do it. Once somebody, when somebody shows that it's not Herculean, you can actually do it. And people start believing it, then, then you'll see a, you know, a locomotive train just, you know, pushing that, pushing that direction, but you have to, you have to, you have to believe it. Yeah, I mean, you know, when you want that big change in life, I believe that you've really got to go for it with everything you've got. Lena Soni asks a beautiful question. One thing that the beautiful Steffi Graf has taught Andre Agassi. I kind of touched on it. The, I think the most powerful thing she teaches me what is how to live your values on a daily basis because she lives it in the moment.

What makes Federer Rafa special? (42:17)

She lives it in in context of a journey. She's, she's not reactive. She's very, she approaches every tough time in life with the belief that she's going to get through it. And also with kindness, love and empathy and, you know, and when you see it, it kind of calms you down and helps you sort of look at some tough situations through a different lens. Instead of, you know, instead of feeling like you have to fight the world so that I, that I just, it's a, it's just a privilege to have in my life on a daily basis. Okay. Lots of questions about Federer and Rafa specifically because this is a very Federer and Rafa oriented country as well. But I'm sure that once you've played tennis yourself, once you've had a tennis career, you're seeing things from another perspective as well. You're seeing things from within their minds. So the question is, what do you think makes them special Federer and Rafa? This is from Sanjith Keswani. Oh, geez. I mean, I don't know how nuanced you want me to get with it, but let me just say anybody that comes into tennis, I don't care if it's Pete, myself, you know, McEnroe, Lindell, you know, I mean, any generation, the person that comes in to be number one, usually brings a couple of things to the game that nobody's ever seen before. You know, that's kind of what defines, you know, when you saw Pete come in, nobody, nobody had a serve like that, you know, nobody just it just was remarkable. He had something that just nobody else. So everybody else has to deal with it, right? I mean, mine was ball striking and taking the ball early off both sides, you know, it's like nobody played that way when I came into the game. So, you know, when you look at when you look at Fed, for example, I mean, I played him in the finals of 2005 US Open and there was no safe place on the court. You know, at the time, he probably had the best forehand in the world. When he played Roddick, he always aced Roddick more than Roddick aced him. So you have to give his serve credit. You have to give his return credit. His movement was was a joke. His hands at net were a joke, the versatility where he might have had five things individually better than everybody else on the tour. You know, it's like it's like a golfer who leads in fairways hit, greens hit and putts. You know, it's like hard to beat that guy. Right. So Fed, Fed that. I mean, then Rafa comes along and he brings such enormous spin to the game that it actually changes the rules of engagement. So you have two things with Rafa that are clearly stand out to me is that because he can hit the ball and it doesn't it's not until it bounces. Right. That changes positions in the court where you can play. That offsets a lot of, you know, all those other qualities I mentioned about Fed and and, you know, plus his is his power of movement, his strength and endurance and physicality is kind of unmatched. Right. So you have you have him bringing that into it and then you got, you know, you only ask me about those two guys. But then Novak has his own sort of thing that he brings to the table. So when you look at these great players, they always do something that nobody else does. And that's what gives them the chance to sit at number one for a period of time. You know that the follow up question is going to be what did Andre Agassi bring to the table, according to himself? Yeah, well, it's easy to say in hindsight because I'm only saying it compared to what existed before me. Right. So when I came into the game, you know, I couldn't believe that there were only a few people that had a big forehand. You know, like, Blendle had a big forehand and then he was pretty conservative with the back end, you know, or who sliced the back end, you know, or you have somebody like a vlonder who was just fantastic at not missing for, you know, six hours.

Andre'S Early Life And His Transition To Business

What did Andre bring to the table? (46:07)

You know what I mean? And, you know, but I just couldn't believe that nobody could stand on the baseline. And no matter where the ball was, take a full swing at it with confidence, knowing that you're going to be offensively minded and and consistent and conservative at the same time. So that's what that's what took people's time away. I kind of came into the game and just took people's time away. And part of the reason was my ball striking was a strength of mine. Other reason would be that I had fundamentals that allowed me to handle pace and generate pace. Right. So that that allowed me to play against guys that came forward, guys that were defensive and allowed me to play through multiple generations when the speed of the game increased and the spin started. The change. So that gave me a chance to play through four or five generations of players. Beautiful. Okay. Adi Salva asks, what's your favorite sport apart from tennis? Favorite sport to watch or I would imagine to watch? You know, this is really strange to say, but I'm not a sports watcher. I mean, I've never been you know, I've never been. I look at some I try to understand it, you know, but but I just it's never been something I gravitate towards.

Andres Childhood (47:26)

But if I had to watch a sporting event live, I probably would say hockey. You know, I think hockey is is one of the most exciting sports live to watch. A lot of sports are better on TV and there are a handful of sports that are better live. Hockey to me is the difference between TV and live is remarkable. Do you pick up things from other sports when you're an active athlete? Tennis is so unique in that it's an individual sport, you know. So there's there's there's just no there's just no there's no blaming anybody else. Right. There's no I mean, think about it. You know, even in even an American football at the field goal kicker misses the field goal. He can always argue, well, if you had made that tackle, I wouldn't have had to keep that field goal because we would have first down. Right. So it's like, you know, so everybody has to work together and basketball and all the sports. Everybody has to work together. And then you look at individual sports. The only one I draw a lot of connection to as it relates to maybe learning something would be would be boxing. Or, you know, you know, because it's it's really one on one. And what I do affects what you do. Well, golf is an individual activity. You're really just kind of playing yourself in the course. Right. So tennis is unique in that way. OK, this next question is from my mom, who's a big fan. She she wants to ask you again about childhood, that you went that extra mile even when you were a child when it came to discipline. So was there some secret formula back then when you were 12, 13 year old training? Were you having some conversations with yourself to push yourself that extra mile? Well, yeah, my dad was so hard on me that by the time I was seven years old, I didn't need him anymore to be hard on me because I was harder on myself. That's probably the best way I could frame it. So it was just intense self-talk that you've got to do it. Yes. When you don't have options, fear is one heck of a motivator, you know. And is it ideal? No, it's not ideal. It led to some pretty difficult times. If I didn't have it, what I've done is much hard to say.

Sporting Lessons Carrying Over Into Business (49:38)

But the truth was that was that was all motivated by fear, fear of failing, fear of what else would I do if I couldn't do this? You know, and then the second half was the complete opposite. OK. Viraj Chet, my manager, asks, how have your sporting learnings translated into the business world? I'd probably highlight other than the problem solving aspect of tennis that you already mentioned. What else carries over into business? Well, I mean, I'm not I'm not sure how many how many ways it's translated, but, you know, the problem solving is working backwards from an objective and figuring out what your path is going to be. The discipline is understanding if you how much momentum you build by just taking one step every day. The idea that that you don't have to be good, better than one person kind of translates to me in business that. You're always going to you're always going to run into struggles and difficulties and and as a result, you need you need that sense of perseverance, you need that sense of big picture, context, context and small picture, you know, applications, you know, I mean, there's there's there's so many that it's hard to separate in a lot of cases. OK, and the last one from the Twitter section, Snehal Pradhan, she's a former cricketer herself. She says advice for those who are good at things that they don't enjoy doing. If you're if that means you're forced to do it because you're young, if that means you don't know what else to do because it is a talent to yours. You know, my my my advice would be on the former. Find a reason. Find your reason for what you do. You know, I think that's always achievable to connect to something that matters to you and find a way to connect it to what it is you do. You know, if you just have a talent that you don't maybe don't enjoy, I would say, you know, you know, listen, I mean. Everybody, I believe that we're. I mean, being good at tennis is weird. There were times I stepped on a tennis court and I literally said to myself, I can't believe I know how to do this. And so I was I was really outside my own skin kind of going. But it helped me a lot to treat myself as just a vessel for something right to get out of my own way and just to let my let what I've been given be a gift to others. Right. So I think I think the the fundamental would be taking your eyes off yourself and putting it on something else that that helps allowing yourself. To do something you don't like so much to its own ability and it gives you a different value system and an engagement. You know, the connection of engagement changes dramatically. Do you believe in a higher power? Do you believe in God?

Do You Play Diety On Court? (52:44)

Absolutely. And do you think that he played through you sometimes when you were on the court? Oh, I you know, I think that's a pretty basic way of of categorizing it in the sense that, you know, we don't have a say what our talents are. You know, you know, he doesn't control, you know, the winning and the losing. I don't believe I don't believe that controls, you know, how I hit a tennis ball. You know, I think I think it's a process and it's a it's a it's a participation. And if you if you allow yourself to embrace that, I think it allows you to be the best that you can you know, you can you can be. But but again, you know, I think that that wisdom on a tennis court is wisdom that you can find in life by being aware of that presence in every person, place and moment. Man, I think, you know, lots of people out there don't believe in God, but most human beings believe in doing good. I strongly believe in God. But what I figured over time is that it's the same thing. Doing good is the same as doing God's work in this planet. I feel like you're an extremely blessed person, Andre Agassi. I feel like you were given these gifts for a reason. And you are doing a lot of God's work with everything you're doing outside of the tennis world as well. So you're using a platform in the best possible way.


Squires Panda India (54:10)

And we're not doing good to try to reach God. We're recognizing him at his core. Yeah, 100 percent. You know, while Square Panda and every other business that you're doing might seem like a business on the outside. I can see how motivated and how passionate you are about these projects when you're talking about helping kids, when you're talking about giving kids the best possible mindset specific to them, it's just beautiful. Like, I feel like you were given your life for a reason. And as you're growing older, you're kind of making the world a better place through all your own experiences. Well, my objective is to finish strong. Let me put it that way. Specifically about Square Panda, what do you have to say to the Indian audience listening to it? Well, I have to say that it gives me great excuse to come down there a lot, which I'll be there again shortly when the environment allows. I would say that we're investing a lot into the integrity of our content, localizing our platform to the native tongue and moving into government schools that allow us to reach the neediest and the most children. And, you know, I hope you continue to embrace me because you're going to see me a lot. India is waiting for you. Andrey, you've got to travel a little bit in the Himalayas. I feel there's a lot of experiences. I don't know if you have already, but that's one thing I would suggest to you on a very personal level. Thank you for that. There's so much I want to see over there. And I pray that every time I come down there, there's an opportunity to take something in. Spend some extended time here, like spend some time with your family. I mean, again, I'm no one to tell you this, but I do believe that there's pieces of yourself you'll discover here when you're here for like one or two months continuously. And you're exploring the mountains, exploring the little towns around the mountains. There's a lot of self-discovery that happens in those little pockets. So once the world is done with COVID, India is going to be welcoming you. I believe you wholeheartedly. Thank you very much. God bless you Andrey Agassiz. Thank you for being on The Ranbir Show. It's a pleasure. Thank you.

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