Archive for the 'Andre Agassi' Category

20
Feb
10

‘Hit for Haiti’…..part 2.

Roger Federer’s impromptu ‘Hit for Haiti’ is to be replicated in Indian Wells by new tournament owner Larry Elisson in an event expected to raise at least $1million for relief efforts in the impoverished Caribbean nation.

Due to take place on March 12 ahead of the main draw of the BNP Paribas Open, the latest Haiti fundraiser looks set to be less of a banter-filled knock around than the Melbourne event, more a doubles clash encompassing two of the sport’s greatest rivalries.

Federer will team up with 38-year-old Pete Sampras to take on Rafael Nadal and Andre Agassi – a pair who would arguably have won far more than their 14 collective Grand Slam titles were it not for the long-standing dominance of the Swiss and the American.

Software billionaire Elisson coined the idea of a second ‘hit for Haiti’ after seeing the success of the Melbourne event, which raised over $600,000 from ticket sales and donations.

“When I saw the first Hit for Haiti event in Australia, I was very moved by the players coming together, on the eve of an important tournament, for such a worthy cause,” said Ellison.

A crowd of around 17,000 people gathered for the initial event at Melbourne Park’s Rod Laver Arena, and Ellison hopes to create an equally well-received event at what has become the most attended tennis tournament in the world outside of the four Grand Slams.

But unlike the jovial atmosphere in Melbourne, the return of the Agassi-Sampras rivalry looks set to be especially spicy, particularly after Agassi’s ill-received comments about the 14-time Grand Slam champ in his candid autobiography ‘Open’.

“I envy Pete’s dullness,” Agassi wrote. “I wish I could emulate his spectacular lack of inspiration, and his peculiar lack of need for inspiration.”

Sampras responded by saying he would like a ‘sit-down’ with his long-term rival.

“I got wind of a few things that he said about me, and I was a little surprised and a little disappointed,” Sampras said in January.

But the pair will once again let their tennis do the talking in Indian Wells – a tournament Agassi won once and Sampras won twice during their careers – and Elisson is particularly excited about their participation in the fundraiser.

“I wanted to bring together an exceptional group of players, with an unprecedented amount of Grand Slam titles, at the BNP Paribas Open,” he said.

“Our goal is to leave a memorable impression on fans, while raising a substantial amount of money that will directly impact the needs of people in Haiti.”

10
Nov
09

Safin says, “Agassi is completely stupid!”

safinMarat Safin has accepted that he is probably just one match away from retirement.

The former world No.1 edged past French qualifier Thierry Ascione 6-4 4-6 7-6(3) to reach the second round, where US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro lies in wait.

In a typically candid assessment, the Russian was the first to acknowledge that his chances of prolonging his final season are slim to none.

“At the end of the day, I don’t think I’m going to be the winner,” the 29-year-old told reporters. And that, he added, is fine with him.

The three-time Paris Masters champion, who announced at the start of 2009 that this was to be his final year on the ATP Tour, no longer has the heart for training, or even for chasing results.

Asked if he would emulate fellow former world number one Andre Agassi and come up with a book full of revelations, Safin said: “I guess I have to retire and then after a few years I’ll write an autobiography with some confessions. If I need money, I’ll do that.”

In case the hint of a dig at Andre Agassi, whose autobiography Open hit the bookshelves yesterday, had been lost in translation, Safin left no doubt with his suggestion for the eight-time Grand Slam champion’s quick-fire solution for any guilt he ay have felt about his crystal meth confession.

“He feels guilty? So let him just give back his titles, money, his Grand Slams!” Safin told the French sports paper L’Equipe. “If he is so fair play, he should go all the way. You know, ATP have a bank account, he can refund if he wants to.

“What’s done is done. He hopes to sell more books. But he is completely stupid.”

“I do not defend the ATP, but what he said put them in a bad position. ATP allowed him to win a lot of tournaments, to make a lot of money.

“They kept his secret so why be so cruel with them? There are times you need to be able to shut up.”

09
Nov
09

Don’t waste your money on Agassi’s boring piece of junk!

agassi5Janet Maslin of the NY Times writes her review of the Agassi $28.95 book.

Andre Agassi often says in “Open” that tennis is a lonely game. But the writing of this autobiography was a team sport. Mr. Agassi’s memoir was put together by J. R. Moehringer, who wrote “The Tender Bar,” a shapely and expert memoir of his own. The same gift of gab that colored Mr. Moehringer’s tales of being a boy in a barroom now magically finds its way onto the tennis court and into Mr. Agassi’s much-analyzed, follicularly challenged head.

Inevitably one wonders which of them actually wrote “it’s the main reason for my pigeon-toed walk” about Mr. Agassi’s troublesome bottom vertebra. The ease with which Mr. Moehringer slips into telling someone else’s story is both consummate and spooky. As for Mr. Agassi, he uses his writing partner in the same way he uses his tennis support staff: as talented individuals in a universe where he, Mr. Agassi, is the one and only sun. (He said that he offered to put Mr. Moehringer’s name on the book, and that Mr. Moehringer declined.)

Welcome to Mr. Agassi’s world. As described in “Open” it is lively but narrow, since Mr. Agassi’s curiosity does not extend far beyond tennis, more tennis, the misery of tennis, the way sportswriters misunderstand tennis and the irritating celebrity that tennis stardom confers.

Like millions of others I watched him on 60 minutes, and he aroused not a single iota of compassion within me. He came across as a boring, manipulative, self centered, uneducated moron who has his Father to thank, not despise, for seeing who he was at a young age.

03
Nov
09

ITF admits there’s nothing they can do about Agassi’s case.

Agassi's Book Crystal MethAndre Agassi has played his cards well. The eight-time Grand Slam champion has timed his confessions as sweetly as the backhand returns that felled the likes of Pete Sampras during his playing days. Despite the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) thundering on Sunday that it wants to reopen the case and launch an investigation, the tennis governing body has virtually ruled out such a move.

According to the International Tennis Federation (ITF), it would be very difficult to prosecute the American due to a number of reasons. “It would have been difficult even if he was still playing,” an ITF official told DNA over the phone from London on Monday.

“Not only is the case outside the statute of limitations due to the eight-year bar, we cannot put someone on trial — who has since retired — based on laws which were not even formed when the supposed offense took place,” he added.

The ITF’s statement is significant since it manages dope testing at just about every tennis tournament, including the Grand Slams and all ATP-sanctioned events.

Following Agassi’s admission in his soon-to-be-published autobiography that he had lied to the ATP after taking crystal meth and failing a drug test in 1997, the WADA has since said that “the Agassi issue is not dead yet.”

WADA director general David Howman said on Sunday that “if he’s lied, and confessed he lied, so he’s obviously lied under oath. That warrants further investigation to see whether there might be any other charges.”

But the ITF sees no such developments. “The incident happened before the WADA was formed in 1999 and when the dope-related offenses were managed by the ATP. So it’s extremely unlikely that this particular case would be reopened,” it said.

01
Nov
09

The saga gets worse!….but book sales are up!

Books-AgassiAS WELL as taking crystal meth, Andre Agassi took amphetamine, his new autobiography reveals, according to reports last night. The drug was said to have been given to him by his autocratic and hugely driven father Mike Agassi. Andre confesses to taking the pills before a tournament despite warnings from his older brother Phillip that he should not swallow then when they were offered by their father.

The disclosure will further tarnish Agassi’s image, especially as the speed was taken as a performance-enhancing drug before playing in the US national tournament in Chicago.

Agassi said he wore a hairpiece held together with pins in his first Grand Slam final, the 1990 French Open final, and blamed his concerns that it would fall apart for losing the match to Andres Gomez.

Before the match he prayed “not for victory, but that my hairpiece would not fall off”, he writes in “Open”.

He said he started to wear a wig to disguise hair loss.

“Every morning I would get up and find another piece of my identity on the pillow, in the wash basin, down the plughole,” he wrote.

“I asked myself: you want to wear a toupee? On the tennis court? I answered myself; what else could I do?”

30
Oct
09

Boris Becker shocked by Agassi’s confession!

Andre_Agassi_1511455cImage is everything, as Andre Agassi was once paid a lot of money to say in a television commercial.

Boris Becker has disclosed that his view of the Las Vegan has changed for the worse after his contemporary’s confession that he used crystal meth.

“I’m the last person to throw stones, as there have been some difficult times in my own life, but to hear that he took crystal meth, that certainly puts a whole new light on Andre,” Becker said, “and it’s not a beautiful light.”

Shocked, more than a little confused, and saddened is how Becker feels after learning how Agassi snorted the addictive stimulant in 1997, and then, after failing a dope test, dodged a ban by lying to the men’s tour with a letter claiming he had drunk a “spiked soda”.

“I’m saddened by what Andre has revealed. Tennis didn’t need this,” said Becker, who suggested that Agassi’s admission in his autobiography was “probably the most shocking thing I’ve heard in tennis”.

Becker, who at 41 is a couple of years older than Agassi, cannot understand what motivated his old rival to discuss the “tidal wave of euphoria” brought on by taking crystal meth. To Becker’s mind, the story has damaged both Agassi’s and the sport’s image.

Though Becker disclosed in his own memoir that for a time in his career he was reliant on sleeping pills, which he sometimes washed down with whisky, he said he has never used illegal drugs.

Agassi took crystal meth with his assistant, Slim, who persuaded the 1992 Wimbledon champion that it would make him feel “like Superman, dude”; Becker said that he tried to avoid bad company during his years of playing professional tennis.

More than anything, Becker sounded bewildered as to why Agassi had been so honest in his book about his drugs and his lies.

“I’m struggling to get my head around why Andre would want to confess to something so damaging as taking drugs and then getting away with it? Why would he want to be so brutally honest?

“I’m really surprised that he would want to discuss such a private part of his life, to talk about such a bad period in his life. I’m sure this will help to sell his book. He doesn’t need the money, though. He’s a rich man,” Becker said.

“Andre has a very settled life now, a very happy and structured life, and now he has admitted this. I wasn’t pleased when I heard what Andre had admitted to. I’m very sad. That was his problem at that time, but why share it with everyone?”

The German, who played Agassi 14 times on the tour, including twice at Wimbledon, said that the American’s public image would suffer.

“I like the guy, I want that to be clear. I think he’s a character and he was a great competitor. We had some close matches. He’s become a great man. He’s a great father, and he has put a lot of time and money into his community in Las Vegas. But his revelations are bound to change how people see him,” Becker said.

“There have been stories over the years about some tennis players taking drugs, but maybe they were just stories, and now Andre, a big star, has been so open about what he took and how he lied to avoid punishment. I had no idea about this before. I’m struggling to think of anything else in tennis that comes close to this.”

Agassi’s image is not the only one suffering; the ATP’s is as well. Becker said that the story had “implications” for men’s tennis, as the ATP administered the anti-doping tests at that time.

“Andre didn’t just take drugs, he also tested positive for drugs and then got away with it, and that’s not good at all for tennis, especially for the governing bodies. People are going to be thinking, ‘How could this happen? How could he get away with this?’

“If it had been made public in 1997 that Andre was using drugs, his career, and his life, would have been very different. He wouldn’t be where he is today.

Maybe his career would not have survived if everyone knew that he had taken drugs, and if he was banned from the tour for a while. But no one knew until now, and it was after he took crystal meth that he played some of the best tennis of his life,” Becker said. “He won many grand slams after that.”

As the World Anti-Doping Agency has an eight-year statute of limitations, Agassi will probably not be punished for his confession. “I don’t think that Andre should be punished for what he did,” Becker said. “It’s too many years ago. Andre is a clever guy, so I’m sure he knew what the legal situation would be before he wrote the book.”

Becker does not believe that there is a culture in the modern men’s game of players chopping up, rolling up, snorting and smoking, between matches.

“I don’t think that recreational drugs use is common on the tennis circuit now. I don’t imagine that guys like Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Murray are having more than the occasional beer, and maybe a cigar as well, after a big win.

“Everyone knows now that if you go crazy on a Saturday night, if it gets messy, there’s a chance you will be tested on Monday morning, and then you are going to be in big trouble, because you’re going to test positive.

“The testing has got tougher in recent years. I don’t think that the top players would be so stupid.”

Narcotics were never part of Becker’s tennis life. “I was never offered drugs when I was on the tour. I didn’t hang around with those sorts of people. When I was a young player, my manager, Ion Tiriac, used to give me a scary look if there was even a beer on the table.”

Meanwhile Rafael Nadal has expressed shock that the ATP did not take action over Agassi’s admission that he took drugs in 1997 and lied to avoid a ban.

“If the ATP covered for Agassi at the time then I think that’s dreadful,” the world No 2 said. He added that “cheats should be punished”.

Roger Federer, the world No 1, said: “It was a shock when I heard the news. I am disappointed and I hope there are no more such cases in future.”

Courtesy Daily Telegraph.

29
Oct
09

What do these two athletes have in common?

marionjones_andre_agassi

Marion Lois Jones  is a former world champion track and field athlete. ( I think you know who the other one is).She won five medals at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia but has since agreed to forfeit all medals and prizes dating back to September 2000 after admitting that she took drugs. In October 2007, Jones admitted taking drugs before the Sydney 2000 Summer Olympics and acknowledged that she had, in fact, lied when she previously denied drug use in statements to the press, to various sports agencies, and—most significantly—to two grand juries. As a result of these admissions, Jones accepted a two-year suspension from track and field competition, and announced her retirement from track and field on October 5, 2007. The United States Anti-Doping Agency stated that the sanction “also requires disqualification of all her competitive results obtained after September 1, 2000, and forfeiture of all medals, results, points and prizes”. On October 5, 2007, Jones formally pled guilty to lying to federal agents. On January 11, 2008, Jones was sentenced to 6 months in jail. She began her sentence on March 7, 2008 and was released on September 5, 2008. Today Marion is broke, looking for a job and desparately trying to put her life back together. Unlike her ‘brother’ drug user she does not have $100 million in the bank, nor is she supported by a clique of tennis comrades who would rather turn a blind eye and sweep this ‘misdemeanor’ under the rug.

I just hope that those in charge have the balls to do what is right and fair, regardless of the consequences.

28
Oct
09

Kick his sorry, lying ass out of the Hall of Fame!

Andre-Agassi-2009_2377707The Association of Tennis Professionals are considering their response to Andre Agassi’s revelation that he used crystal meth in 1997 and lied to avoid a drugs ban.

Eight-time grand slam winner Agassi has admitted in a new book that he gave the ATP a statement containing false information after being informed by a Tour doctor that he had failed a doping test.

Agassi, whose autobiography ‘Open’ is set to be released next month, was using crystal meth, a highly-addictive drug, in 1997 as he struggled with professional and personal issues. This ‘timely’ admission of his behaviour, which can only embarass his family and in particular his children, is another example of an immoral promotion designed to sell crappy books that are written by ex-athletes who lack any creative writing skills. It follows along the same path that Serena’s nude photos trod to promote her drivel. Why else would he make such a confession? Some role model he’s turned out to be!!

Here’s a guy who has a beautiful wife, two great kids, over a $100 million in the bank and the adoration of almost every tennis fan in the world, who decides to write a ‘tell-all’ book. Why? In his wildest dreams the book could net him a couple of million before tax. He must be nuts, in addition to being a liar and a cheat!

Agassi convinced the ATP not to punish him after writing a letter to argue the use was accidental.

Recognising his career “might soon mean nothing”, Agassi stressed to the ATP that he was not to blame, claiming he made mistakenly drank from a spiked soda belonging to ‘Slim’.

He wrote: “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.”

Agassi said the ATP reviewed his case and while he faced a minimum three-month ban, decided to believe his account and the case was withdrawn.

The ATP are looking at the American’s confession, and they are considering whether to respond today.

They will have to decide whether to explore taking retrospective disciplinary action against the player who won five of his grand slams after 1997.

The 39-year-old, who retired in 2006, recounted being introduced to the drug while sitting at home with his one-time assistant who he referred to as ‘Slim’, and admits in his book that the use was deliberate.

Recalling his first experiment with crystal meth, he writes in the book, which is being serialised in The Times: “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.

“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.”

The 1997 season was the American’s worst on tour as he failed to win a title and missed the Australian and French Opens as well as Wimbledon – and at one point had fallen to 141st in the world rankings.

16
Oct
09

ATP to discuss schedule changes…Agassi agrees it’s too long.

andre-agassi_1503153cAndy Roddick’s withdrawal from the Shanghai Masters led the American to describe the one-month off-season as “ridiculous”. He said it was no coincidence that some of the leading names in tennis had been laid off through injury at some point this season.

Roger Federer (fatigue) and Andy Murray (wrist injury) will miss this week’s event in China and Juan Martin del Potro, Tommy Haas, Stanislas Wawrinka and Gael Monfils have joined Roddick in pulling out.

In calling for change Agassi said: “I think the Tour should tighten up the schedule so the top players can play more often in a shorter time.

“I’d like to see everyone come to the table and work out a schedule that suits everyone. I always thought it’s best to give the players a schedule that enables the players to be at their best.”

The world’s top 30 players must compete in a mandatory 18 tournaments each year — including the four grand slams and eight of the nine Masters 1000s — but such a work load is something that Rafael Nadal, the world No 2, has warned could force players into early retirement.

The Spaniard, now back after his four-month lay-off with a knee injury in the summer, said: “It’s impossible to play January 1 and finish December 5. No sport can do it, and you play a shorter career. I know it’s difficult because there are a lot of interests. I don’t know the solution, but my opinion is that it must be changed and soon.”

Adam Helfant, the chief executive officer of the ATP Tour, is understood to be meeting players to discuss the rescheduling possibilities at next month’s season-ending ATP World Tour Finals in London.

02
Oct
09

Steffi looks in shape to make a comeback too…..

steffieLooking strikingly different from the pony-tailed star who ruled tennis courts till 1999, Stefanie Maria Graf made a charming appearance at an event hosted by her husband Andre Agassi on Saturday.

Dressed in a black-and-white, animal print gown, Steffi looked stunning as she posed for shutterbugs with Agassi.

The two were attending the Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation for Education’s Grand Slam for Children benefit concert at Wynn Las Vegas hotel and casino on Saturday. The event was attended by celebrities such as Lionel Richie, Macy Gray, Chris Daughtry, Tim McGraw and Brian McKnight.

The foundation, which has raised $75 million through concerts since 1994, funds the school where low-income students get financial support. Students are chosen through a lottery.

The school has been the centre of the couple’s life for some time now.

“The most emotional moment of his (Agassi’s) social commitment was honouring the students from the first graduation class of his Andre Agassi Preparatory Academy…” Graf writes in her blog.

The winner of 22 Grand Slam titles, 40-year-old Graf has also been involved in charitable work. The only player to have won all four Grand Slam singles tournaments at least four times each, she has her own charity ‘Children for Tomorrow’. She was recently spotted enjoying a vacation at Capri in Italy with her husband and two children.

“It’s amazing how quick life goes by when you have children.”




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