Andre Agassi: Telling the truth about love, tennis, drugs
It was a tennis kind of day.
Andre Agassi came to town to promote his painfully honest autobiography called "Open," in which he details his tortured relationship with his demanding father, his dalliance with the recreational drug crystal meth, his finding the love of his life, Steffi Graf, when he didn't think such love was possible, and his evolution as an introspective adult who prefers no shouting in the house -- by him or his eight-year-old son Jaden and six-year-old daughter Jaz -- and who hopes that his revelation of the drug episode might prove educational and not reputation-tarnishing.
Agassi said that had he failed a drug test in the sport today -- as, he reveals in the book, he did in 1997 -- there would have been no escaping punishment. "It couldn't happen today," Agassi said Tuesday. "And that's a good thing." The explanation Agassi gave ATP officials back in 1997 was that he accidentally ingested the drug because it was in a beverage provided by an assistant.
However, Agassi said, he wishes there were more nuances in doping penalties.
"What I did only hurt me," Agassi said. "It clearly wasn't performance-enhancing. If a guy fails a drug test for crystal meth, we should be trying to get him help."
Before a Beverly Hills meeting with Agassi there had been a Hollywood lunch with 22-year-old Sam Querrey, who displayed the scar on his right arm, the result of a very wrong choice -- to sit on a glass table in a locker room in Bangkok while putting on his shoes. The table shattered and Querrey's arm got sliced. Badly. Querrey showed cellphone photos of the gaping wound. He also wondered what pushed Agassi to reveal his crystal meth use. "Not sure I'd do that," Querrey said.
Another revelation in Agassi's book surprised Querrey even more. Agassi once sported a mullet haircut. Except it wasn't real. It was a hairpiece, used to hide a rapidly receding hairline. "A fake mullet," Querrey said. "Wow."
Querrey said he's back to practicing at full strength and plans to be ready for the start of the 2010 season. Agassi said he's feeling a certain peace after saying his piece in his book. Read more later at latimes.com/sports.
-- Diane Pucin
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Photo: Andre Agassi. Credit: Carlo Allegri, Reuters.