Excerpts of Andre Agassi’s upcoming autobiography were to be printed in People and Sports Illustrated later this week, but SI writer Richard Deitsch jumped the gun a little bit Tuesday morning by tweeting this bombshell:
FYI: There’s an off-the-charts book excerpt from Andre Agassi in the forthcoming SI: He admits to taking crystal meth during his career
Fault! The tweet was deleted shortly after, but Agassi’s use of meth was confirmed by his publisher to Daily News:
“Those excerpts contain revelations about Andre’s use of crystal meth when he was a tennis player,” said Paul Bogaards, director of media relations at Knopf, a division of Random House.
In Open: An Autobiography, Agassi admits to using crystal
meth in 1997, which is in the height of his illustrious
20-year professional tennis career that ended with his
retirement in 2006.
Agassi must have flashed some serious cash and brought in
Pulitzer Prize-winning author J.R. Moehringer to help him
with the book, due out November 7.
UPDATE – The Daily Mail has some excerpts from the book, including his description of being introduced to meth for the first time:
‘Slim dumps a small pile of powder on the coffee table. He cuts it, snorts it. He cuts it again. I snort some. I ease back on the couch and consider the Rubicon I’ve just crossed.’
And how did it make him feel?
‘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.
‘I’m seized by a desperate desire to clean. I go tearing around my house, cleaning it from top to bottom. I dust the furniture. I scour the tub. I make the beds.’
And how did he lie himself out of a positive drug test?
‘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.’
In contrast, here’s the publisher’s description from amazon, which doesn’t touch on Andre’s methamphetamine usage at all:
From Andre Agassi, one of the most beloved athletes in
history and one of the most gifted men ever to step onto a
tennis court, a beautiful, haunting autobiography.
Agassi’s incredibly rigorous training begins when he is just a child. By the age of thirteen, he is banished to a Florida tennis camp that feels like a prison camp. Lonely, scared, a ninth-grade dropout, he rebels in ways that will soon make him a 1980s icon. He dyes his hair, pierces his ears, dresses like a punk rocker. By the time he turns pro at sixteen, his new look promises to change tennis forever, as does his lightning-fast return.
And yet, despite his raw talent, he struggles early on. We feel his confusion as he loses to the world’s best, his greater confusion as he starts to win. After stumbling in three Grand Slam finals, Agassi shocks the world, and himself, by capturing the 1992 Wimbledon. Overnight he becomes a fan favorite and a media target.
Agassi brings a near-photographic memory to every pivotal match and every relationship. Never before has the inner game of tennis and the outer game of fame been so precisely limned. Alongside vivid portraits of rivals from several generations–Jimmy Connors, Pete Sampras, Roger Federer–Agassi gives unstinting accounts of his brief time with Barbra Streisand and his doomed marriage to Brooke Shields. He reveals a shattering loss of confidence. And he recounts his spectacular resurrection, a comeback climaxing with his epic run at the 1999 French Open and his march to become the oldest man ever ranked number one.
In clear, taut prose, Agassi evokes his loyal brother, his wise coach, his gentle trainer, all the people who help him regain his balance and find love at last with Stefanie Graf. Inspired by her quiet strength, he fights through crippling pain from a deteriorating spine to remain a dangerous opponent in the twenty-first and final year of his career. Entering his last tournament in 2006, he’s hailed for completing a stunning metamorphosis, from nonconformist to elder statesman, from dropout to education advocate. And still he’s not done. At a U.S. Open for the ages, he makes a courageous last stand, then delivers one of the most stirring farewells ever heard in a sporting arena.
With its breakneck tempo and raw candor, Open will be read and cherished for years. A treat for ardent fans, it will also captivate readers who know nothing about tennis. Like Agassi’s game, it sets a new standard for grace, style, speed, and power.