Agassi got away with lies – some people do, says ATP

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The Independent Online

Adam Helfant, the executive chairman and president of the Association of Tennis Professionals, said yesterday that he had told Andre Agassi he was "disappointed" with the American's comments in his autobiography about drug taking.

In the book, published earlier this month, Agassi said that he had failed a drugs test after taking crystal meth but had escaped a ban after lying about the circumstances, claiming that he had mistakenly taken a drink which contained the drug.

The ATP has refused until now to comment on the specifics of the case, but Helfant, having consulted lawyers, said he could now explain what had happened after Agassi failed the test.

"Regrettably when he was confronted with this positive test he lied, which he now admits," Helfant said at the launch of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at London's O2.

"Even more regrettably, he got away with this lie and, in keeping with the rules of the anti-doping programme, no public disclosure was made of this positive test. An independent tribunal found that there was no doping violation. In hindsight you can say that people should not have believed Agassi's story – and with hindsight you would be right. The nature of any appeals process is that some people lie and once in a while they get away with their lies." Helfant said that no retrospective action would be taken against Agassi because he was no longer an active player.

He said that Agassi had telephoned him before publication to explain what he was writing. "I expressed my disappointment to him," Helfant said.