In his controversial new autobiography, Open, Andre Agassi admits he took speed as a junior player and crystal meth as a pro in 1997—then lied to officials (claiming he’d downed a spiked soda) to avoid suspension when he tested positive for meth. Now other tennis legends are speaking out: Will the sport stand by this beloved icon?
Agassi’s legacy is permanently tarnished: Using drugs and lying about it after the fact puts Agassi in the same camp as disgraced baseball player and accused steroid abuser Roger Clemens, says former champion Martina Navratilova, as quoted in The Australian. “It’s shocking,” she says. “He beat some people [and won championships] when he should have been suspended.”
This is the last thing tennis needs: “To me, it seems terrible,” says Spanish star Rafael Nadal (ranked number two in the world) in the Guardian. Agassi’s confession inflicts needless damage on the sport and raises suspicions about other professional players.
Why is Agassi correcting the lie now? “[I’m] struggling to get my head around why Andre would … confess to something so damaging as taking drugs and then getting away with it?” says retired great Boris Becker, as quoted in the Daily Telegraph. “Why would he want to be so brutally honest?”
He still deserves hero status: Scottish pro Andy Murray, quoted in the BBC's website, says the incident hasn’t changed how he sees Agassi, whom he continues to hold in high esteem: “I judge him as a tennis player…[he] was great, one of the best of all time.”