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Fee 10-30-2009 12:16 PM

The actual excerpts of Agassi's book, from the London Times.
Here are the links to the actual excerpts from Agassi's autobiography in the London Times that started all the fuss, along with a few links to other articles in the times covering the reactions and whatnot.

Part one:

Part two:

Neil Harman's opinion piece:


ohplease 10-30-2009 12:25 PM

Wait - I have to actually read the excerpts? I can't just fire off an opinion? Not just about Agassi, but about other players, too?

(Hang on - nevermind, this is the Tennis Warehouse message board. People do that all the time)

Moose Malloy 10-30-2009 12:28 PM

the excerpts are also at

here is what Wertheim said about the book:

Quote: How is this new book different from other athletes' autobiographies?

Jon Wertheim: You get accustomed to reading memoirs in which a player tells how tough it was grinding in the third round of Stuttgart or maybe rolls through a top-10 of career highlights. But this one reads like a novel. Andre clearly took this project seriously, using a sizable advance to hire Pulitzer Prize winner J.R. Moehringer to work with. He released his thoughts on everything from his relationship with his father to assessing contemporary players. Are many of the stories going to be lost due to the crystal meth use admission?

JW: Unfortunately, yes. The skins games with Jim Brown will hopefully be read as well, but there's no mistaking the headline here. I was surprised to read about the drug use. I can't help but think of the Major League Baseball testing leaks over the last few years when names were readily made available by sources. Agassi went the other way. He "outed" himself but incriminated the organizing body in the process. It's a pretty serious allegation and the dynamic is fascinating.

I spoke with Mark Miles, the ATP's CEO at the time, and it bears mention that the book seems to be a bit sloppy on the procedure. When a player tested positive, the issue was put before an independent panel, made up of former federal judges and the like -- not former players or ATP execs or anything like that. Inasmuch as Agassi was exonerated, it was by the panel not the ATP itself.

The drug testing and policy has since been revamped so that everything is handled by an independent WADA. Both practically and procedurally this makes sense. Still, the notion that "the ATP swept Agassi's positive test under the rug" is wrong-headed.

I'm curious to see the public reaction here. Yes, it was 12 years ago and the drugs were of the recreational variety, not the performance-enhancing variety. Still, Agassi didn't merely commit the crime; he then lied and acted manipulatively in the cover-up. On the other hand, I think for some it will add to his transformational tale. Pete Sampras released his own autobiography last year. How does it compare with Agassi's?

JW: Autobiographies are symptomatic of the people they are about. Pete was very straightforward whereas Andre was more textured in his explanations. Let's just say those happy photos of Pete hugging Andre were taken before Pete read the book. Andre lets it be known that Sampras was a bad tipper. Was there anything you expected to be in the book that was not?

JW: His split from Perry Rogers was missing. If you talk about crystal meth, one would think there would at least be some mention of a pretty dramatic split with your boyhood friend, longtime consigliere and the man to whom you entrusted all off-court aspects of your career
Agassi will be on 60 minutes next week.

Fee 10-30-2009 12:34 PM

Yeah, I just read that Jim Brown story.

Agassi did one thing right, he hired a damn good writer to help him with this.

Fee 10-30-2009 03:41 PM

More, from his interview with People magazine (who does not put full articles online):;_yl...v=ap&type=lgns

Agassi tells mag he did meth ‘for a year or so’

NEW YORK (AP)—Andre Agassi used crystal meth periodically for “a year or so,” the eight-time Grand Slam champion revealed in an interview with People magazine.

In his upcoming autobiography, Agassi admits he used crystal meth in 1997 and failed a drug test—a result he says was thrown out after he lied by saying he “unwittingly” took the substance.

“If you’re going to tell your story, you owe it to yourself to tell it honestly,” Agassi told the magazine in its latest issue. “Especially if you’re going to call it ‘Open,”’

New excerpts published Friday reveal Agassi wore a hairpiece that nearly fell off at the 1990 French Open, became jealous during ex-wife Brooke Shields’ appearance on “Friends,” and how Shields put a photo of Steffi Graf—now married to Agassi—on the fridge for motivation to get in better shape before their wedding.

“It’s a photo of the perfect woman, she says” Agassi wrote. “The perfect woman with the perfect legs—the legs Brooke wants.”

Agassi also explains how he and Shields begin dating shortly after Christmas 1993 and connected by sharing their experiences with pushy parents. He also reveals that he stormed off the set of “Friends,” becoming jealous when Shields had to lick actor Matt LeBlanc’s hand.

“Have some more hand. I’m out of here,” wrote Agassi, who said he consulted Shields on the book.

“A lot of our recollections were the same, but not the interpretations,” Agassi told the magazine. “I tried to turn a harder lens on myself than on anyone else.”

And it was the camera lens that haunted Agassi.

The tennis star’s brother was sent running around Paris to find bobby pins to keep Agassi’s disintegrating spiked-mullet weave from coming off his head before a match in the 1990 French Open.

“Of course I could play without my hairpiece. But after months of derision, criticism, mockery, I’m too self-conscious,” he wrote. “Image Is Everything? What would they say if they knew? Win or lose, they wouldn’t talk about my game. They’d only talk about my hair. I can close my eyes and almost hear it. And I know I can’t take it.”

Copyright © 2009 Yahoo! Inc.
Copyright © 2009 2009 STATS LLC and The Associated Press.

MEAC_ALLAMERICAN 10-30-2009 04:06 PM


Dear Fee,
How dare you provide these inflammatory facts?

I honestly think this book is going to be a good read and not a snooze festival like some of his contemporaries who will remain nameless. The "Kindle" is ready.

CyBorg 10-30-2009 04:19 PM

Yeah, that hairpiece at RG in 1990 was ridiculous. Agassi was noticeably thinning at Indian Wells only months before and then suddenly had this bushy thing on his head. He also had strange hair at the year-end masters that year.

Anyway, can't wait to read the book. I like celebrities who are straight up about their flaws and just air it all out. Like Canseco. Shameless but very amusing.

Hypatia 10-30-2009 04:30 PM

A minor point considering everything else going on, but it’s less than gentlemanly to flatter your current wife by exposing to the public some of the physical insecurities of a previous wife, whether Shields was on board with it or not.

Steffi does have a great set of gams, though.

Fee 10-30-2009 04:50 PM


Originally Posted by Hypatia (Post 4068188)
A minor point considering everything else going on, but it’s less than gentlemanly to flatter your current wife by exposing to the public some of the physical insecurities of a previous wife, whether Shields was on board with it or not.

Steffi does have a great set of gams, though.

Interesting point, but I didn't see it that way. I like Brooke Shields a lot, but to me the story seemed to be another example of the absurdity of Andre's life at that time, and considering that he was taking meth at that moment, he may have felt it was all a bit absurd too. Also, knowing that Andre and Brooke were able to re-establish a mature friendship after a few years had passed probably paints the story in a less insulting light. To me anyway.

Hypatia 10-30-2009 05:16 PM

You're probably right. As for Brooke, I'm not sure it's such a great idea to wave a photo of another woman under your fiance’s nose saying “Isn’t she perfect?” He might just agree with you.....

Looking forward to the book, anyway.

urban 10-30-2009 10:21 PM

I must smile, when i read the story about the false hairpiece. I think, the last one with a false toupet on a tennis court was The Hustler himself, Bobby Riggs, who wore an even badder piece in his matches with Court and King, and - another parallel - took all kinds of pills.

Fee 10-31-2009 10:30 AM

The hairpiece and the meth use are sensational and attention grabbing, but honestly the stories about his father are the most disturbing things I've seen so far in this book.

Hypatia 10-31-2009 03:02 PM

There's reportedly a good story in the book about Mike Agassi and Peter Graf. Graf makes a trip to Vegas to meet Mike for the first time. He wants to see the infamous Dragon, and Mike obliges. The two men then start to argue, loudly, about the virtues of their respective child's backhand technique, and Andre has to separate them before it gets ugly.

Datacipher 10-31-2009 03:41 PM


Originally Posted by Hypatia (Post 4070076)
There's reportedly a good story in the book about Mike Agassi and Peter Graf. Graf makes a trip to Vegas to meet Mike for the first time. He wants to see the infamous Dragon, and Mike obliges. The two men then start to argue, loudly, about the virtues of their respective child's backhand technique, and Andre has to separate them before it gets ugly.

I'm sure Fee read it, since she actually posted the links! Actually, I couldn't help but be a bit suspicious about that story. Exaggerated? It just seems so perfect....gee...the 2 meet for the first time, in a friendly manner, and 10 min. later are about to fistfight??? Talk about living up to your reputations. lol. Oh well, I suppose truth can be stranger than fiction.

CCNM 11-01-2009 05:48 PM

I read the excerpts in Sports Illustrated, and I do not plan on buying or reading the book. However, after reading the part about how his dad pushed him I can see why he seems to be an emotional mess who cries at everything.

bee 11-02-2009 07:20 PM

Read the excerpts. Sounds like sensational cr@p.

I suspect he's exagerating and making some of that stuff up.

And, that stuff about his dad... were's the loyalty? Where's the gratitude? Something worked, right? Where's the gratitude? Maybe it's in there somewhere, but from the excerpts it sounds pretty self-centered and self-absorbed.

Fee 11-03-2009 11:20 AM

Cover up?

Andre Agassi’s positive drug test was well-guarded secret at the ATP

Posted Saturday, Oct. 31, 2009
A high-ranking ATP executive nodded toward me, indicating he had something to tell me in private. We walked to where we couldn’t be heard and he said words to the effect that we had a major anti-doping violation on our hands.

This wasn’t a player ranked No. 200 that only his family knew was pursuing a professional tennis career, but "the big fish" that critics of the men’s professional tennis tour suspected we were unwilling to hook because of how it might taint the game.

The player was Andre Agassi.

I was vice president of communications for the ATP then and part of the chain of how anti-doping violations and other issues were handled. I was usually informed by the tour’s chief executive officer, Mark Miles, and my task was to prepare a Q&A, anticipating everything the media might ask if a suspension was announced and to include the basic facts about the ATP’s anti-doping policy.

Once the Q&A was reviewed and approved by Miles, it was distributed to tour executives in our offices in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., Monte Carlo, London and Sydney. This was the script they would use when questioned by the media.

So, it was unusual that I learned about Agassi’s positive test from the executive, who will remain nameless, but I figured I would be hearing from the CEO in short order anyway. This news could have far-reaching repercussions, as it is having now after Agassi revealed drug use in his soon-to-be-published autobiography, Open.

But I never heard a word from Miles, from the day I was told until I left the ATP for the Star-Telegram in August of 1998. I didn’t ask, either, because I didn’t want the executive who confided in me to be reprimanded — or worse. But it was troubling knowing we had a positive test from a player who was one of the best-known athletes in the world, and yet, the crisis management plan wasn’t being put into motion.

There could be mitigating circumstances, I reasoned. The ATP’s anti-doping policy at the time stipulated that a player was not in violation of the program until he had exhausted all appeals heard by an independent panel — positive test notwithstanding. That was a provision that many players didn’t know and many in the media didn’t accept.

Nowadays, the International Tennis Federation oversees drug testing in tennis, in accordance with the rules and regulations of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

Because of this potential bombshell, I thought that perhaps the tour decided to tighten the loop and minimize further any chance of a disclosure — even accidentally — of Agassi’s positive test.

I admit to even wondering whether it was a matter of trust, that after having been a reporter for 24 years before joining the tour, there was some concern that I would leak this headline-making news to the media, or someday use it for my own purposes.

I never received an answer. The Agassi case was as much a mystery when I left the tour as when I first heard from that unsuspecting executive who broke protocol.

For the first time I wondered whether my former colleagues in the media were right when they said the ATP had no stomach for catching the big fish.

So, count me as not the least bit surprised by Agassi’s revelation that he was a crystal meth user and lied to the ATP about the positive test, saying he didn’t know his "assistant" had spiked his soda. And neither am I shocked that the independent panel apparently accepted his story. Maybe it was a plausible explanation, but would the panel be so quick to exonerate a lesser player?

I am, however, stumped as to why Agassi, who left the game on good terms, had a worldwide following, does great work with young people through his foundation in Las Vegas and is husband of tennis legend Steffi Graf and a father of two, would want to tarnish his legacy.

Talk about a self-inflicted wound. Agassi certainly doesn’t need the money, in fact, Graf probably earned as much, if not more than he did in worldwide endorsements. And why would he risk his reputation now?

Remember Agassi’s mantra? "Image is everything."

Count Boris Becker among those also befuddled by the revelations, which Becker said was "probably the most shocking thing I’ve heard in tennis" in an article in Friday’s Telegraph of London.

Ironically, tour executives had taken Becker to task a few years earlier when he suggested — without any evidence — in an interview that there was drug use among some tennis players that was being ignored or going undetected.

In Friday’s article, Becker said, "I don’t think that recreational drug use is common on the tennis circuit now. The testing has got tougher in recent years. I don’t think that the top players would be so stupid."

Crystal meth is considered a recreational drug, not performance-enhancing like steroids or amphetamines, which would give an athlete an unfair advantage. So Agassi probably would have served only a three-month suspension if he were found in violation of the anti-doping policy. Still, he writes in his book that the drug brought on a "tidal wave of euphoria," and made him feel super human.

How is that not potentially performance-enhancing?

In the Telegraph article, Becker says he doesn’t see what Agassi has to gain by this disclosure.

Well, perhaps the revelations are cathartic. The teenage "rebel" with the long hair and highlights, who morphed into an elder statesman with the shaved head, also writes in his book about his poor relationship with his father and how he hated tennis. There was also the failed marriage to Brooke Shields.

Having written about Agassi from the time he came on the scene through my communications duties in 6 1/2 years with the ATP, my impression was that he was a Las Vegas showman constantly changing his persona. First, the brash kid, then a born-again Christian, a player who applauded his opponent’s shots and, at the end, the wily, experienced star who theatrically bowed to the crowd and was winning Grand Slam titles after many of his contemporaries had retired.

It’s possible that Andre Agassi has never been who he appeared to be — that he has never been himself. And, now, no matter the consequences, perhaps the rebel has finally found a cause.

Pete Alfano, 817-390-7985

robow7 11-04-2009 02:07 PM

In case this stuff slipped by, WOW!


Just when you thought there weren't any more headlines in Andre Agassi's incendiary, engrossing and endlessly human autobiography, "Open" (with J.R. Moehringer, from Knopf), the hits keep on coming.

In it:

Agassi hints he tanked games. "Losing on purpose isn't easy," he writes. "You have to lose in such a way that the crowd can't tell, and in a way that you can't tell. Your mind is tanking, but your body is fighting on. ... You don't do those tiny things you need to do. You don't run the extra few feet, you don't lunge. You're slow to come out of stops. You hesitate to bend or dig." Of losing in the semifinals of the 1996 Australian Open against Michael Chang -- a match Agassi suggests he tanked -- he writes, "I'm glad I lost."

Sportswriters who accused him of tanking often were wrong. "They never get it right," he writes in the diary-style format. "When I tank, they say I'm not good enough; when I'm not good enough, they say I tank."

He says his father calculated that when Agassi was 7, he made him hit 1 million balls in a single year.

He says his father gave him speed before the junior nationals in Chicago. Agassi writes he purposely made the match closer than it had to be, just so his father wouldn't make him take it again.

He did crystal meth partly out of self-loathing. "Apart from the buzz of getting high," he writes, "I get an undeniable satisfaction from harming myself and shortening my career. After decades of merely dabbling in masochism, I'm making it my mission. ... I hate tennis more than ever, but I hate myself more."

He was a bit of a pyromaniac. He liked to light things on fire. Once, on the balcony of a Munich hotel, he lit paper, clothes and shoes on fire, his way of coping with "extreme stress."

He had plenty of stress. He was so angry after then-girlfriend Brooke Shields licked actor Matt LeBlanc's hand at a live taping of "Friends," he stormed out, drove home and smashed all his trophies, including ones he won at the Davis Cup, U.S. Open and Wimbledon.

He was never sure he wanted to marry Shields. But he could relate to the actress. "She knows what it's like to grow up with a brash, ambitious, abrasive stage parent," he writes.

He claims that while Shields was getting in shape for the wedding, she taped a photo on her refrigerator of the "perfect woman" -- Steffi Graf (now his wife).

He says he got married with lifts in his shoes at Shields' request.

He says Shields got regular threats from stalkers, and he would put his longtime trainer, Gil Reyes, on a plane to stalk them back. "He ... appears ... at the stalker's house or workplace ... holds up the letter and says very softly, 'I know who you are and where you live. ... If you ever bother Brooke and Andre again, you will see me again, and you don't want that,'" Agassi writes.

He describes rival Pete Sampras as one-dimensional, "robotic" and a bad tipper, recalling a time Sampras gave a Palm Springs car valet one dollar. On the other hand, Agassi is grateful to have had Sampras' greatness to measure himself against. "Losing to Pete has caused me enormous pain," he writes, "but in the long run it's also made me more resilient. If I'd beaten Pete more often ... I'd have a better record ... but I'd be less."

He saves no love for Jimmy Connors, whom he calls a "rude, condescending, egomaniac *****." Of Connors' coaching Andy Roddick for a time, he writes, "Poor Andy."

He was incensed that Chang would point to the sky every time he won a match. "He thanks God -- credits God -- for the win, which offends me. That God should take sides in a tennis match, that God should side against me ... feels ludicrous and insulting."

He says Todd Martin was, "like me, an underachiever."

He insists that his sister, Rita, ran off with 32-years-older tennis legend Pancho Gonzales because their father was too contentious and controlling.

He notes that the irony of a man who never finished high school running one of the finest prep schools in Nevada is not lost on him. To say nothing of his school having a dress code.

And, perhaps the most shocking revelation of all: Beginning in 1999, he says, he never played wearing underwear again.

robow7 11-04-2009 02:10 PM

this above linked to

Datacipher 11-05-2009 06:39 PM

On tanking, Agassi was accused of it often in his youth. While the media might have gotten it wrong sometimes, they surely nailed him at other times. I wonder if he talks about things like Pancakegate. In any case, I guarantee that at least one other person knows, the player you're losing to. Especially if it's a top player. But Agassi is right, there are levels of tanking. You might not willfully decide to lose (and Agassi DID this in his youth), but you might just not be focused, not really care....and I think that is likely what he did vs. Chang.

Speaking of which, still taking cheap shots at Chang, wow. Well, I have heard that criticism of Chang before, and it may SOUND bad, but I don't think Chang is saying by any means that God is "siding" with him over a tennis match. As a devout Christian, I think he is merely acknowledging that he is humble and believes that he could not win (or even play tennis, or be alive) if God were not allowing hin to do it. By that same token, i never saw him blame God when he lost. In fact, even at the end of his career, when he lost more often than not, he didn't lose his faith, and even if I don't share his beliefs, he seems a sincere, humble guy, who really lives what he advocates, so I really think he gets unfairly criticized.

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