If you’ve been living under a rock lately, you’ve probably missed Andre Agassi’s admission of crystal meth use back in 1997. The news, which was shocking to fans of the sport, has cast a dark cloud of doubt over the game. Not surprising though is the fact he ranked 141 that year.
In Agassi’s autobiography, Open: An Autobiography, which I have yet to read, he admits that he tried crystal meth when his manager offered it to him. After testing positive for methamphetamine he submitted a written explanation to the Association of Tennis Professionals. His explanation was plain and simple. He’d accidentally taken a drink from his manager’s spiked soda, which contained methamphetamine. The ATP took his word for it and swept it under the rug, so to speak.
For me, it comes to question, how many others got away with it, and how often did Agassi use the drug? Was it coincidental that he tried the drug and then within days was tested, or had he been using it for a while? Did he go into some type of drug treatment program for help? I am sure more will be revealed in his book, Open: An Autobiography, which is due out on Monday, November 9, 2009.
There are a couple parts this story that disturb me, and one of them is the sensationalism of the story. Why, after all these years, does Agassi finally admit to crystal methamphetamine use? Why not keep it personal? Is it to promote his book and to drive up sales? It’s understandable, in today’s book market to drive up sales with sensational news, but there comes a time when there really isn’t a need.
Agassi was one of the best tennis players out there. He has a huge following and history shows it; eight Grand Slam singles and an Olympic Gold Medal in singles. It is even claimed that in the 1990’s he was considered the best service returner and the most charismatic player in the history of tennis. And, when he took to the court in the earlier 90’s there was an sharp increase in the sport’s popularity.
Well, however the story goes, I am sure more of an explanation will be given in his autobiography. If he did go to a drug treatment program it was a closely guarded secret. If he did, my hope is that he will be honest about that part too.