Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Andre Agassi Opens Up To Katie Couric On 60 Minutes [VIDEOS]

Andre Agassi Opens Up To Katie Couric On 60 Minutes[VIDEOS] Katie Couric's interview with Andre Agassi on 60 Minutes, CBS, aired yesterday, 8th November, 2009. Andre just released his book, Open, which is an Autobiography where he said "He hated tennis." I love Andre as a man, as a player, as a gentleman, as a father but never in my wildest dream that I can believe him using drugs. I don't know what forced him to write his confession, it's like he killed his name and for all to condemn him. But, it takes courage to be as honest as he showed the world through his book. I still admire him regardless what others would like to say.

Andre Agassi with Katie Couric on 60 Minutes 1

Andre Agassi with Katie Couric on 60 Minutes 2

Excerpt of Open: An Autobiography
by Andre Agassi

After a loss in D.C. in July, I decide to shut down for the summer. Though we were married in April, Brooke is in Los Angeles working and I spend much of the summer in Vegas. Slim is there, and we get high a lot. I like feeling inspired again, even if the inspiration is chemically induced. I stay awake all night, several nights in a row, relishing the silence. No one bothering me. Nothing to do but dance around the house and fold the laundry and think.

Apart from the buzz of getting high, I get an undeniable satisfaction from harming myself and shortening my career. But the physical aftermath is hideous. After two days of being high, of not sleeping, I'm an alien. I have the audacity to wonder why I feel so rotten. I'm an athlete, my body should be able to handle this.

In the fall, I'm walking through New York's LaGuardia Airport when I get a phone call. It's a doctor working with the Association of Tennis Professionals. There is doom in his voice, as if he's going to tell me I'm dying. And that's exactly what he tells me.

It was his job to test my urine sample from a recent tournament. It's my duty, he says, to inform you that you've failed the standard ATP drug test. The urine sample you ­submitted has been found to contain trace amounts of crystal meth.

I fall onto a chair in the baggage claim area.

Mr. Agassi?

Yes. I'm here. So. What now?

Well, there is a process. You'll need to write a letter to the ATP, admitting your guilt or declaring your innocence.


Did you know there was a likelihood that this drug was in your system?

Yes. Yes, I knew.

In that case, you'll need to explain in your letter how the drug got there.

And then?

Your letter will be reviewed by a panel.

And then?

If you knowingly ingested the drug -- if you plead ­guilty -- you'll be disciplined.


He reminds me that tennis has three classes of drug violation. ­Performance-enhancing drugs, of course, would constitute a Class 1, he says, which would carry a suspension of two years. However, he adds, crystal meth would seem to be a clear case of Class 2. Recreational drugs.

I say: Meaning?

Three months' suspension.

My name, my career, everything is now on the line. Whatever I've achieved, whatever I've worked for, might soon mean nothing. Part of my discomfort with tennis has always been a nagging sense that it's meaningless. Now I'm about to learn the true meaning of meaninglessness. Serves me right.

Days later I write a letter to the ATP. It's filled with lies interwoven with bits of truth. I acknowledge that the drugs were in my ­system -- but I assert that I never knowingly took them. I say Slim, whom I've since fired, is a known drug user, and that he often spikes his sodas with meth -- which is true. Then I come to the central lie of the letter. 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.

I feel ashamed, of course. I promise myself that this lie is the end of it.

The next April, I'm in Rome, lying on my hotel bed, resting after a match. The phone rings. It's my lawyers; they're on speakerphone. Andre? Can you hear us? Andre?

Yes, I hear you. Go ahead.

Well, the ATP has carefully reviewed your heartfelt assertion of innocence. We're pleased to say that your explanation has been accepted. Your failed test is thrown out.

I hang up and stare into space, thinking again and again: New life.

Andre Agassi responds to critics of his drug use with a plea for compassion, telling Katie Couric that he "needed help" when he used methamphetamine while feeling depressed in 1997.

Agassi got emotional when responding to the criticism from Martina Navratilova that Couric read to him, including that the former women's tennis star compared him with Roger Clemens.

"Yeah, it's what you don't want to hear. I would hope along with that would come some compassion that maybe this person doesn't need condemnation," Agassi tells Couric. "Maybe this person could stand a little help. Because that was at a time in my life when I needed help."

"I had a problem and there might be many other athletes out there that test positive for recreational drugs that have a problem. So I would ask for some compassion," says Agassi.

The former number one tennis player in the world has no regrets about disclosing his methamphetamine use in his new book, "Open," which comes out Monday. He's not sure what impact it will have on his consideration for the Tennis Hall of Fame.

"I don't know what the ramifications are. I had way more to lose by telling this story in its full transparency than I had to gain," he tells Couric. The price that that comes with is the cost that I've assumed and I'm okay because the part that I worry and think more about is who this may help."

Among the many revelations in "Open" is his confession that for much of his career, he hated the sport he was so good at. He eventually overcame his hatred and now loves tennis, mostly because of what it gave him. "I was tortured by it. Hated it. Took ownership of it. Started to have a relationship with it. Started to embrace it. Started to extract from it and grew to love everything it had to give me, which was the relationships in my life, the people, the fans. It was a gift," says Agassi. "I go out with my wife now and I hit balls. And I can enjoy it," he says.
(If any video or link is broken, please comment below, thanks!)

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