Image may or may not be everything, but it’s the unbridled truth tennis legend Andre Agassi is hoping will forever set his once tortured soul free.
The eight-time Grand Slam champ and former No. 1 player in the world has co-authored a new autobiography titled Open in which he candidly details a past that includes everything from rampant drug use and fake toupees to a simmering “hatred” for his hard-driving father.
“If you’re going to tell your story, you owe it to yourself to tell it honestly,” says Agassi, who admits to using crystal meth for “about a year or so,” beginning in 1997 and only escaping suspension by lying to tour officials by insisting a failed drug test was the result of “unwittingly” consuming the spiked drink of an assistant.
Of his father, Agassi, writes, “he was violent by nature,” recalling how he once pointed a gun at another motorist and regularly implored him to hustle people on the courts, among them NFL legend Jim Brown, whom he beat in a match for $500 when he was just nine-years-old.
While Agassi, who retired in 2006, has termed his revelations and the motivation behind them as purely cathartic, not everyone seems inclined to share his self-absolving view.
“Shocking,” said singles record titleholder Martina Navratilova. “Not as much shock that he did it as shock he lied about it and didn’t own up to it. He’s up there with Roger Clemens, as far as I’m concerned.”
Added current No. 1 Roger Federer, “it was a shock when I heard the news. I am disappointed and I hope there are no more such cases. Our sport must stay clean.” —Glenn Minnis