Agassi pleads for compassion

American begs critics not to condemn him for drug use

By Rachel Griffiths   Last updated: 6th November 2009   Subscribe to RSS Feed

Agassi pleads for compassion

Agassi: Asking for compassion

I would hope with that would come some compassion that maybe this person doesn't need condemnation. Maybe this person could stand a little help

Andre Agassi
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Eight-time Grand Slam champion Andre Agassi has appealed for understanding following his revelation that he used crystal meth during his tennis career.

The American admitted he took the drug in 1997, the year he incidentally crashed to number 141 in the world rankings, and then confessed he lied to ATP officials to avoid punishment.

Excerpts released from an interview with Agassi on American CBS television programme '60 Minutes' saw the 39-year-old pleading for compassion from his critics.

"I would hope with that would come some compassion that maybe this person doesn't need condemnation. Maybe this person could stand a little help," said Agassi.

"Because that was at a time in my life when I needed help.

"I had a problem and there might be many other athletes out there that test positive for recreational drugs that have a problem. So I would ask for some compassion."

Revelations

Agassi's admission was first made in his autobiography, Open, which will be released next week.

After a sparkling career which saw Agassi top the world rankings, the eight-time Grand Slam champion accepts his revelations may tarnish people's opinions of what he achieved.

"I don't know what the ramifications are," said Agassi. "I had way more to lose by telling this story in its full transparency than I had to gain.

"The price that that comes with is the cost that I've assumed and I'm okay because the part that I worry and think more about is who this may help."