Agassi has no regrets over drug admission

Andre Agassi said he has no regrets about baring his life in his recently published memoirs and his use of crystal meth despite criticism from the tennis community, adding that his wife Steffi Graf was proud of him.

In "Open", Agassi describes loathing the tennis life he was pushed into by his father and reveals that a deep depression in 1997 led him to use the recreational drug, and that he lied to officials about using crystal meth after testing positive.



"I knew it wasn't going to be pleasant waters, but again nothing really worthwhile in life comes without great sacrifice," Agassi told Reuters in an interview Thursday after a book signing that drew nearly 500 people on a rainy day.



"How do you regret your life, how do you regret telling the truth? This is the only chance I have to communicate the power of my journey. That's why I called the book "Open". That's why it took me three years to write it.



"I want this thing to impact millions of people I've never met."



The backlash to Agassi's book has been intense.



World number two Rafa Nadal said cheats in tennis must be punished, Sergi Bruguera, who lost the 1996 Atlanta Olympic final to Agassi, said the gold medal should be forfeited. Former U.S. and Australian Open champion Marat Safin, said Agassi should return any tainted prize money and titles.



The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) said it wanted to investigate whether any charges could be brought against Agassi following his admission he lied about using crystal meth.



Agassi said he hurt himself, not the game, by turning to the drug after plunging to the depths of depression.



"I say I made a choice to hurt myself, destroy myself and during the year that I was involved with the horrifying drug, crystal meth, I didn't win anything, I didn't do anything, I pulled out of everything.



"As far as I'm concerned you can take that entire year and take it away."



Agassi, 39, said that while negative comments had gotten a lot of publicity, he had been moved by many messages of support.



"I got a lot of support, and I mean immediately," he said. "I had a lot of reactions - phone calls and e-mails and texts...saying I support you.



"I was touched by Andy Roddick and Andy Murray, who not only reached out but were very public about how they felt at a time when it wasn't going to be a very popular side to take."



Agassi, who made a choice at age 27 to make something of his tennis career and went on to great success, said he was not concerned about reaction from the tennis world.



He believes his message is farther reaching.



"I feel like I've lived a life, had a second chance in life and I feel like my story has real power in people's lives, people I'll never meet.



"What this book will do for so many people will be a powerful thing."



Agassi, who has two children from his current marriage to former tennis great Graf, said he had his own kids in mind when he took on the project.



"I wrote this book with them first and foremost on my mind.



"To not be scared to deal with the truth, but also understand that people make mistakes and it's not the mistakes that is the problem. The problem is what we do with it.



"Just to really understand how you can control your life, how you can choose your life, take ownership of your life.



"I was 27 years old is when I chose tennis. I was 140th in the world and been in a pretty dark time. I could've walked away but I chose it.



"I found myself starting to take ownership of my life.



"No matter where you find yourself, millions of people wake up in a life they find themselves in and there's actually some hope there."



Agassi said his wife was a helpful partner in the project.



"She had a huge involvement," he said. "Just her support and the time it took me. Thousands of hours away from the family trying to do this the right way.



"She knew about everything going back to the fall of '99. That is when we fell in love and we didn't fall in love under false pretense. I had disclosed it all.



"So the stories in my life didn't surprise her, but the story of my life was quite powerful for her. When you see it in black and white, you understand yourself.



"When it was all said and done, she was proud."



Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm today
News
people
News
Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
News
File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
peopleActor was tweeting in wake of NYPD police shooting
PROMOTED VIDEO
Sport
Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
SPORTLiverpool vs Arsenal match report: Bandaged Martin Skrtel heads home in the 97th-minute
Arts and Entertainment
The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit director Peter Jackson with his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
film
News
people
News
Billie Whitelaw was best known for her close collaboration with playwright Samuel Beckett, here performing in a Beckett Trilogy at The Riverside Studios, Hammersmith
people'Omen' star was best known for stage work with Samuel Beckett
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Wright has won The Apprentice 2014
tvThe Apprentice 2014 final
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'