Agassi’s Albatross

November 10, 2009 · Print This Article

By: Adam Wexler

agassi3Sure, Andre has softened a little. He has even lost all his hair. He may, some would say, speak in a slightly higher voice than he once did. But did he not win four Australian Open titles, one French, one Wimbledon and two U.S Opens? Can you ignore the three Canadian Open titles, one Olympic Gold medal, and that he dated Brooke Shields? I was always an Andre fan. He was consistently worth the money you paid to see him. His flamboyance created a positive vibe around the game, apparently for everyone but himself. With the recent release of Agassi’s autobiography “Open”, and 60 Minute interview with Katie Couric, a new story has emerged. Apparently, he did not love the game as much as we thought he did. Moreover, he lied about taking recreational drugs in 1997.

Agassi was always a grinder out on the court, using his return of serve to cut down larger opponents. Today, he continues to inspire young people to either play the game hard, or enjoy the game in the same sense that we thought his exhibitionism indicated that he did. He has become an accomplished philanthropist and elder statesman for the sport.

Does it matter he was miserable throughout his career? No. That was his burden. Does it matter he lied to the ATP about his drug use? Yes. But who cares. That was twelve years ago, and it is a performance debilitating drug. Andre was a victim of an overbearing parent, the American dream, and of our need to inflate people to beyond human levels of expectation.

We all benefited from the way Andre was always up and down, down and out, and then back on top: tournament directors, sponsors, players, media and fans and more. One reprehensible act, which only inflicts suffering on oneself, is no reason to trash a man’s reputation. Martina Navratilova has obviously never watched baseball.

I suppose her partner is the ball fan. But when she compared Andre to Roger Clemens, I thought, are you crazy or just desperate to talk about anything but another one of your failed marriages. As Perez Hilton states: “…it’s going to be an even messier divorce which promises many dark secrets from Navratilova’s past and present life … such as the intrigue surrounding arch-rival Chris Evert, the incestuous nature of The Women’s Tennis Association, former lovers, improprieties between business associates, and more.” While Perez is no expert, the point is everyone has their issues. Six of one half dozen of the other. We all make mistakes, get over it. It is an unfortunate situation all around, but Agassi is the man.

Love the game.

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6 Responses to “Agassi’s Albatross”

  1. Nick Morris on November 11th, 2009 3:18 am

    You should have stuck with Agassi’s Odyssey instead of trying to piggy back on the success of my popular song.

    I also think it is not entirely accurate to label Andre a victim. He’s a pretty rad dude who seemed to have the ability to do whatever he wanted, and apparently that something was Meth more often than not. I think the point is partially that he duped us all, and also partially that he might not be the hero that many people thought he was.

    Stay away from my music.

  2. Allan on November 11th, 2009 9:21 am

    Martina was always honest about issues that she had and none of those issues impacted the fact that she was a wonderful tennis player/athlete who set new standards for women’s sports. Andre is a fraud. After all that he now admits, it is clear that he lied to his fan base throughout his career. Who says he is telling the truth now? How can anyone believe anything he says? Your comment that it’s been 12 years so who cares leaves one with the impression that time cures all evils irregardless of the conduct. Each of us is responsible for our acts, but Andre is snubbing his nose at all of us. Strip him of his titles and bar him from all tennis events. Since he “hates” tennis, he won’t mind, I guess.

  3. Allan on November 11th, 2009 9:32 am

    Further to my above comment, I can’t help but refer you to your blog on Gasquet where he didn’t get nearly as much slack as Andre gets, yet he provided the same excuse as Andre when he tested positive and still was suspended. You suggested he become an actor. Perhaps Andre should heed that advice.

  4. db on November 11th, 2009 10:48 am

    It’s a shame Agassi let the world know about his lack of love for the game. I am relatively unaffected hearing about his drug use; probably because it doesn’t matter, all those thrust into the public eye falter at some point. However I think he did the world a disservice by turning himself into the victim and speaking about not loving the game that made him a multi-millionaire. There are children who dream every day of becoming a star, like him. To discredit what they aspire to is unacceptable. Can’t believe 11? titles are now just a footnote to a controversial career.

  5. Adam on November 11th, 2009 11:00 am


    Firstly, I can’t say the above response is a surprise. I think many if not most people feel that way. Andre has tarnished his reputation and credibility. He lied, cheated, and misled his fans.

    But there’s a fundamental difference between cheating to achieve a direct benefit, and ‘cheating’ by breaking a peripheral obligation of being on the tour. Let’s take a baseball or basketball player an example. Many of them have contractual obligation to not ride motorcycles, waterski etc. If, after having won numerous titles, a player was found to have engaged in these activities, would you demand the same reparations? They would be guilty of lying, ‘cheating’, and misleading fans.

    As to the point about Gasquet, you are probably right. Because he will never give as much to the sport and his community as Andre did and continues to do, I am biased.

  6. Allan on November 11th, 2009 11:15 am

    I have less trouble with the fact that he took meth as opposed to his lying to the ATP and bragging about his lying as well as throwing his father under the bus. The drug stuff is old hat and probably is a part of many athlete’s lives. If he had left it at that, I wouldn’t have been so offended.

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