28th October 2009 (Daily Mail) -- Andre Agassi has admitted that he took crystal meth during his professional tennis career.
The former Wimbledon champion says he tried the highly addictive drug in 1997, when his form was failing and he was having doubts about his impending marriage to Brooke Shields.
He was caught out in a drugs test by tennis officials - but duped them into believing he had taken it by accident.
The American, who is now married to former women's number one Steffi Graf, makes the admission in his new autobiography.
Agassi, 39, also reveals that he has always secretly hated playing tennis and lived in fear of his bad tempered and violent father.
Had the positive drugs test become public during his playing career, the penalties for Agassi could have been catastrophic.
Possession of crystal meth carries a maximum five-year jail sentence in the U.S. It is not clear if any legal action will now be taken against him.
In the book, Agassi tells how he was sitting at home when his assistant, referred to only as Slim, offered him the drug.
'As if they're coming out of someone else's mouth, I hear these words: You know what? **** it. Yeah. Let's get high,' he writes.
'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.'
Some time afterwards, Agassi was walking through New York's LaGuardia airport when he got a call from 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,' Agassi writes. 'And that's exactly what he tells me.'
Agassi learns that he has failed a drugs test and faces a three month suspension. 'My name, my career, everything is now on the line. 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.
'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 ATP later reviewed the case and threw it out.
Agassi is one of only two singles players to achieve the Golden Slam of winning all four major tournaments and Olympic Gold. The other is his wife.
In 1997, the year he took the drug, he also pulled out of the French Open and did not bother to practise for Wimbledon. He retired in 2006 suffering back problems.
Smitten_Kitten: Video is from the 1997 match against Doug Flach in Washington, DC. Agassi lost the second round.
At the end of the match, Agassi admits he is "no where near where his game" used to be.
Click to view image: 'thumbnail'
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