My Take on the Agassi ‘Scandal’

I said I wanted to make a post about the new Agassi book which reveals some sensational new information, like Agassi taking chrystal meth ‘Speed’, and wearing a wig during the French Open the year he lost to Andres Gomez in the final. To me this information is not all that surprising. Agassi was a rebel ever since his junior days at the Bollettieri Academy in Florida. He was a charismatic showman, you could say the rock star of tennis. He lived a bit like a rock star with his fast cars, hot girlfriends and on court demeanor among other things. It was just part of who he was, although he did change quite a lot over the course of his career. There is no doubt he went through some tough times in his career where it seemed he was down and out.

At one point he fell to number 141 in the world, and he had all but lost interest in tennis and in life in general. So it is not surprising that he used chrystal meth during this period. I mean the guy was not even sure if he wanted to continue tennis. So I think anyone who thinks that the drug is responsible for him winning many matches, got it wrong. I mean lets get real here. Taking speed once is not gonna make you a better tennis player. That is the first point. The reason Agassi got out of that slump is because he worked really hard and went back to challenger level, in order to work his way back up the rankings. He did so successfully and made it all the way back to number one in the world for the second time, and ended up adding five grand slam titles, including the career grand slam, to his resume.

There is no doubt that he deserves a huge amount of credit for what he achieved in his career, and no one can take that away from him. Snorting chrystal meth once makes no difference whatsoever. I mean I am amazed by how judgemental some people have been, including pro tennis players. Here are some examples:

http://www.menstennisforums.com/showthread.php?t=153660

As you can see, people like Boris Becker, Martina Navratilova and Steve Wilson(whoever that is) have been quite judgemental. Serena Williams on the other hand plays dumb (Hmmm…never heard of chyrstal meth? Lol! Either she is extremely naive or she is hiding something. I’ll let you decide….). Anyways back to the people who actually had an opinion. I think what Boris is saying does not carry much weight, because he is in fact saying that Agassi should have kept lying instead of coming out with the truth. That’s just ridiculous in my humble opinion. Obviously it is always better late than never when it comes to withholding the truth. Even the fact that Agassi admitted that the ATP lied for him, and the fact that it damages the ATP, is not a good enough reason that he should have kept it quiet.

Does it make it better that lies are being kept quiet? Of course not! Lies are lies and the sooner they come out the better. It is unfortunate that the ATP did nothing about it at the time, but is it gonna go away because it is kept quiet? Again, of course it isn’t. This idea that as long as lies are kept quiet they don’t exist, is like a sickness that has plagued humanity for ages. The universe has a perfect computing system called karma, and whether lies come out or not, people are held accountable for their actions. At least Agassi has a conscience to admit these things, and as far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t make any difference to his legacy whatsoever. He took chrystal meth once when he was down in the dumps. So bloody what?!

We all have made mistakes, and the fact that Agassi was a sports star doesn’t mean he was not human, or that we should treat him differently. The important thing to learn from this situation is that we should stop treating sports stars and celebrities like Gods, and blindly idolize them the way we do. This is just another example of the fact that they are not special and that they are just human like all of us. I’m not saying idolization is a bad thing. But at least choose your idols wisely. I know for sure Roger would never snort chrystal meth, and I truly believe he is a worthy idol to follow. He sets an example of a clean life and he loves what he does. He is just a really stable individual and it is hard not to be inspired by him.

Here is what Roger had to say:

“It was a shock when I heard the news. I am disappointed and I hope there are no more such cases in future. Our sport must stay clean. But Andre has done a lot for tennis, both as a player and as a human being. Today, he raises millions of dollars for his foundation for disadvantaged children.”

And here is what Rafa had to say:

“Cheaters must be punished and if Agassi was a cheater during his career, he should have been punished. To me it seems terrible. Why is he saying this now that he has retired? It’s a way of damaging the sport that makes no sense. I believe our sport is clean and I am the first one that wants that.”

Notice the big contrast in the tone of Roger and Rafa respectively. Roger is disappointed, but quickly find something positive to say about the situation. And rightly so. It is not a nice thing that happened, but Agassi is obviously a good guy if you look at what he does with his foundation. Personally I think Agassi is at peace with this. He realized he made a mistake, he admitted it, and he also knows that he is a different person now compared to way back then, and that is also why he admitted it. I don’t see how snorting a drug once makes you win five grand slam titles anyway. That’s wishful thinking beyond belief. Now look at how judgemental Rafa is. He quickly labels Agassi as a cheater because he was human and made one mistake.


Did Agassi use steroids to enhance his play? Not that we know of. So to say he is a cheater just because he made one mistake is simply too harsh. And again, using the angle that Agassi’s admittance to snorting meth damaged the sport doesn’t hold much water. What happened happened. How does covering it up make it any better? It doesn’t mean because the ATP covered for Agassi back then they are still doing the same thing. The fact that Rafa appears so righteous just makes me wonder even more if he isn’t up to something himself. He always seems to have a strong opinion when doping is mentioned. The most ridiculous thing I recently heard someone say about Agassi is that he should give his titles and prize money back.

That was said by Marat Safin of all people, one of the biggest wastes of talent in the history of tennis. So no need to take him too seriously. Why should Agassi give the grand slam titles and prize money back that he worked so hard for? That is just insanity. Doping repeatedly to enhance performance is drastically different from snorting chrystal meth once when you are down in the dumps. Others are saying that this is just a marketing ploy to sell his new book. I say it is just the nature of the man. Agassi is the ultimate showman, even after he has left the game. He will always be someone who catches the spotlight. He is the ultimate entertainer. Some like him, some don’t. If you used to like him and now lost respect for him, it just means you need to choose your idols more wisely.

Agassi was my idol when he played the game and he still is. He was great for the game and made legions of people interested in tennis. For that the tennis world should be thankful, not judgemental. Even now that he is off the tour he is still bringing interest to the sport with his new book. People have started talking and they all want to buy Agassi’s new book. Lets not forget either that Agassi is a smart guy, and that he knows how to make money. This book will surely be one of the biggest sellers yet in tennis. I bet Agassi is smiling in private at all these judgemental people now, knowing that he will soon be the one smiling all the way to the bank!

Ps. It is my day off work, so I will be back later tonight with a review of Roger’s match against Julien Benneteau and more…

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12 Comments

  1. I like it that you peel Agassi issue like an onion. A very well written, objectively reasoned without an ounce of emotions. Prediction on winner for Paris Masters if you can entertain us.

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  2. I don’t think I’ve ever agreed with you less in a post.

    You told me before you were an Agassi fan so maybe you will cut him more slack than me, I have so many problems with this though.

    The whole buisness is needlessly damaging to tennis. See if Agassi had came out and admitted it because he feels bad, because he was feeling guilty, then I could maybe forgive him , and if that were the case then he would give back some prize money etc, but he came out and admitted it TO SELL BOOKS. That is just plane dispicable. If I were the ATP I would file a lawsuit for his admitted lying to a tribunal, its nothing short of disgraceful and sets a terrible example to kids everywhere.

    But tarnishing your image to sell books, I am disgusted with the man.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Well i dont think he did it to sell books. Agassi has always struck me as a sensitive individual and this issue has probably been eating away at his conscience for a long time. Having said that im not gonna deny that he enjoys the limelight. Another thing is that he should not have to give back prize money, cos the ATP assisted him so they are just as guilty. Also snorting meth once is not gonna make you win any more matches.

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    Paul Reply:

    It’s not about wether or not it helped him win. These guys are paid millions to play tennis, because people pay that money to watch it. There kids watch it, and that means the players become role models to children everywhere.
    If my son gets into Tennis I hope he looks up to Federer, or Nadal, or even Sampras, but what if he looks up to Agassi? I don’t want him looking up at a druggie, being paid millions isn’t jsut for playing tennis, it’s for being a role model and what Agassi did is NOT acceptable. He should be substantially fined, I don’t care about the ATP in it.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    So what the ATP did was ok but not what Andre did? People take steroids all the time and they get banned for it. The ATP should have banned Andre, and none of this would have been a problem in the first place. Recreational drug ban is 3 months. No big thing. This is all the ATP’s fault.

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    Paul Reply:

    What the ATP did is irrelevant to me because nobody looks up to the ATP, and it’s not their fault Agassi took the drug, then lied about it after testing positive.
    I don’t have a massive problem with recreational drugs but when you are an internation sports star it’s unacceptable, if you want to have joints then give up the multi million pounds and go get a real life, working 40 hours a week and worrying about bills.
    We should probably agree to disagree on this, obviously I feel strongly about what he done where as you feel it was justifiable, either way I don’t think we’ve heard the last of it.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah lets agree to disagree.

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  3. I believe that Andre Agassi said on the interview that he can’t remember how many times he took meth, but that he was using it for about a year in 1997. He really got away with this. The ATP are a bunch of frauds. All illegal drugs should be banned in professional sports. They think they are rock stars. If Agassi would have said that he was a meth addict and got help for it, and had the end of his career that he ended up having, he would have been more idolized than what he already is. Too bad for Agassi that he didn’t tell the truth and owned up to his mistake in the beginning and not now to sell books.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Well if he was a meth addict and used it repeatedly to enhance performance that is different story altogether. I guess my source was wrong then. Do you have a link?

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  4. In my opinion the thing that matters here is that Agassi tested positive and he got away with it, while others players with less name or from smaller countries
    didn´t.The ATP is a shame.Mariano Puerta/Nadal, exactly the same “6 years off the court”,and Nadal? many doubts
    with the ATP…
    What about Roger taking drugs?what about his 15th G.S.
    Agassi´s picture may never be the same.
    You say it´s human, but he´s a sport star, a public person, he has kids, he works with kids, and why did he do this ?It isn´t to be thankful, it´s bad for tennis.

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  5. Dear Ruan
    Thyank you for touching on this topic. I have been dying to give an opinion on Agassi’s book myself and didn’t know where.
    I noticed the difference between Roger’s reaction and Nadal’s. Typical I would say.
    Agassi wrote a book called so he had to tell the whole truth or not write the book at all.
    Have you thought that he mentioned the drug use to let the world know that drug use is rampant in today’s tennis and wants something done about it.
    I have a strong feeling that Agassi has a reason for telling all and it is NOT for money’s sake.

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  6. Well i am still trying to find out if he took meth repeatedly. Still even if he did that im fine with the truth coming out. Its like you said, if he was going to write a book why hold back? He should be allowed to speak the truth if thats what he wants to do.

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