Agassi admits drug use, lying to tennis authorities

October 28th, 2009 - 8:37 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Oct 28 (DPA) Eight-time grand slam winner Andre Agassi has admitted he failed a drugs test but escaped a ban by lying to tennis authorities.
The American has revealed in his new autobiography he took crystal methamphetamine but persuaded the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) into believing he had taken it by accident.

The admission by the 1992 Wimbledon champion comes in the autobiography Open that is being serialised exclusively by Britain’s Times newspaper.

Agassi, now 39, said he received a call from a doctor working for the ATP in the autumn of 1997 to inform him that he had failed a drug test for the highly addictive crystal methamphetamine.

“My name, my career, everything is now on the line. Whatever I’ve achieved, whatever I’ve worked for, might soon mean nothing,” Agassi wrote.

“Days later I sit in a hard-backed chair, a legal pad in my lap, and write a letter to the ATP. It’s filled with lies interwoven with bits of truth.”

Agassi told the ATP he had accidentally taken a drink spiked by his former assistant, Slim.

“I say Slim, whom I’ve since fired, is a known drug user, and that he often spikes his 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 Slim’s spiked sodas, unwittingly ingesting his 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.”

Agassi said the ATP reviewed his case and while he faced a minimum three-month ban for use of a recreational drug, decided to believe his account and the case was withdrawn.

The Times said the incident came when Agassi’s form was falling and he was having doubts about his impending marriage to the actress, Brooke Shields.

“Had the positive drugs test become public, the repercussions for Agassi could have been catastrophic. It remains to be seen whether repercussions will follow his confession,” it said.

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