For the first time, tennis legend Andre Agassi has opened up about his shocking drug use which saw him descend into taking Crystal Meth.
In a blistering new autobiography, the star admits that he first tried the highly addictive drug back in 1997 over growing fears over a loss of form and about concerns about his impending marriage to actress Brooke Shields.
Agassi says 1997 had been his worst year on the tour and he had failed to win any titles and dropped to 141 in the world rankings.
He says that same year, he received a call from a doctor working for the Association Of Tennis Professionals to inform him that he had failed a drug test.
Agassi writes: “My name, my career, everything is on the line. Whatever I’ve achieved I’ve worked for, might soon mean nothing – days layer I sit in a hard back-chair, a legal pad on my lap, and I write a letter to the ATP, it’s filled with lies interwoven with bits of truth. I say Slim, whom I’ve since fired, is a known drugs user, and that he often spikes Sodas with meth – which is true – then I come to the central lie of the letter. I say that recently I drank accidentally from one of (his former assistant) Slim’s spiked Soda’s, unwittingly ingesting the drugs. I ask for understanding and leniency and hastily sign it: Sincerely. I feel ashamed, of course. I promise myself that this lie is the end of it.”
The ATP reviewed his case and while he faced a minimum three months ban, they decided to believe his account and the case was not brought forward.
Had he been officially detected by the governing Association Of Tennis Professionals this could have led to a life ban from professional tennis and a possible 5-year U.S. jail sentence.
The 39-year-old – who retired in 2006 – recalled being introduced to the drug while sitting at home with his former assistant Slim.
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Agassi reveals: “Slim dumps a small pile of powder on the coffee table. He cuts it, snorts it. He cuts it again. I snort some more. I ease back on the couch and consider the Rubicon I’ve crossed.”
The tennis ace goes onto say: “There is a moment of regret, followed by vast sadness. Then comes a tidal wave of euphoria that sweeps away every negative thought in my head. I’ve never felt so alive, so hopeful – and I’ve never felt such energy. I’m seized by a desperate desire to clean. I go tearing around my house, cleaning it from top to bottom, I dust the furniture. I scour the tub. I make the beds.”
Agassi admits that he initially worried about how his fans around the world would react to his revelation, but claims that he always showed his emotions on the court and was actually ‘excited’ about telling the whole story.
In the book that is being serialized by The Times newspaper in the UK, Agassi also makes the surprising revelation that he secretly hated tennis but lived in fear of his violent and bad tempered father.
Along with his wife, Steffi Graf, he is one of only two singles players to achieve the Golden Slam of winning all four major tournaments and the Olympic gold.
Andre Agassi retired from professional tennis in 2006 after suffering a back injury.