844243239aa58210VgnVCM100000e56411acRCRDapproved/thenational/Articles/Migration/2009-Q4Agassi: I took drugs and then lied744243239aa58210VgnVCM100000e56411ac____Agassi: I took drugs and then liedAndre Agassi's new autobiography features the eight-time grand slam winner's shock confession that he lied to tennis authorities after failing a drugs test in 1997.<p>Andre Agassi's new autobiography features the eight-time grand slam winner's shock confession that he lied to tennis authorities after failing a drugs test in 1997 - the same year a wrist injury dropped his world ranking to a career-worst 141.
In the forthcoming book, entitled Open, Agassi, a former world No 1 who retired from tennis in 2006, reveals he willingly used recreational drug crystal methamphetamine after it was offered to him by his then assistant "Slim", a known addict.</p>
<p>"Slim dumps a small pile of powder on the coffee table," writes Agassi in Open.
"He cuts it, snorts it. He cuts it again. I snort some.
"I consider the Rubicon I've just crossed [and] ... there is a moment of regret, followed by vast sadness. Then comes a tidal wave of euphoria that sweeps away every negative thought in my head. I've never felt so alive, so hopeful and I've never felt such energy," adds Agassi, one of only six men to complete tennis's coveted career Grand Slam.</p>
<p>Agassi's autobiography also reveals that when an ATP doctor telephoned him to inform him he had failed a "Class 2" drugs test, the fear of a long-term suspension led to the American writing a letter to the sport's governing body in which he lied about the circumstances of his usage.
"My name, my career, everything is now on the line," writes Agassi. "Whatever I've achieved, whatever I've worked for, might soon mean nothing. 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.</p>
<p>"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," he adds.
Agassi's explanation saw him cleared by the ATP, and he subsequently went on to resuscitate his playing career the following season. Having started 1998 ranked 122 in the world, Agassi's return to form catapulted him up to sixth by year end - the biggest 12-month jump into the top 10 in the history of professional rankings.</p>
<p>Victories in the French Open and US Open in 1999 cemented his recovery and established Agassi as world No 1, and he also claimed three Australian Open titles between 2000 and 2003.
While Agassi's belated confession will inevitably harm the reputation of one of the game's most popular players, the American, however, is unconcerned.
"I had to learn a lot about myself through the [autobiography] process. I was worried for a moment, but not for long," said Agassi at an exhibition tournament in Macau last week.</p>
<p>"I wore my heart on my sleeve and my emotions were always written on my face. I was actually excited about telling the world the whole story," he added.
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