In 'Open,' Agassi dictates his life


Andre Agassi was perhaps Las Vegas' favorite son before he wrote "Open: An Autobiography." What will his fate be now?

The acclaimed book hit shelves Monday, along with its revelations: He did meth in 1997; he hates tennis, and lost on purpose at times; he wasn't into first wife Brooke Shields; his dad was incredibly hard on him as a kid.

He tells me the meth story has not hurt his charitable foundation or his Vegas school.

As for some particulars relating to doing meth:

"I did try the smoking it once, but it wasn't my cup of tea," he says. "It was powder form."

In the book, he refers to his meth connection as "Slim," an employee at the time. Who's Slim? He won't say.

"I haven't seen him since then. I don't even know if he's alive."

I told him, "That's good. You don't need that person in your life anymore."

"Well, I hope he's good," Agassi, 39, says. "It's really horrifying and terrifying to see what that drug can do."

I told him of speculation around Vegas that Agassi is busting out confessions so ex-friend and business partner Perry Rogers can't beat him to it. Agassi shakes that off.

"There's not a chance in the world I would let anybody dictate how I would choose to communicate my life, and how I choose to express it. The truth is, he wouldn't or couldn't talk about this."

Shields won't be surprised by Agassi's writing of then-marital unhappiness because she was "part of this process" (the book) and has read it.

"Our recollections -- a lot of them are the same, but our interpretations vary. We all bring our own perspectives to the table."

How about wife Steffi Graf?

"Steffi's pretty proud. She knows the stories of my life. She's waited anxiously as I figured out what the story of my life was."

I said: "She's so private, though."

Agassi: "She is."

Me: "This is all so public."

Agassi: "Yeah, I went to great pains so I could make sure I could accommodate who she is, but she also goes to great pains to allow for who I am. ... She's an amazing person."

He "dabbled" in therapy, "attempting to make sense."

"But you just can't do it. It's not logical in the life you live out there on tour, to open yourself in a way where you admit these weaknesses. It's dog-eat-dog out there. You eat what you kill. It's very conflicting to try to understand yourself in that world. That's why I did the book now. I've had time to look back and make sense of it."

He and his dad are affectionate now, but his dad won't read "Open."

"He's told me he's not gonna read the book because 'Why the hell do I need to read your book? Because I was there.'

"He said, 'If I could do all this stuff over again, I'd do the same thing except not tennis. It'd be golf or baseball. ... You're playing guys that are 6-7. What do you want me to do? Shove a pole up your butt?' "

Agassi says that and laughs, and says his dad was coming from a place of love.

"My dad was always great about adjusting if he knew there was pain. He didn't always know there was pain. And I was a kid that didn't communicate it. I internalized everything.

"My mom struggles reading it because she didn't know so much of what I was feeling. These moments, you internalize as a child, you don't know where to put it. So you just turn it inward."

Read more of our interview on my blog.

E-mail delfman@reviewjournal.com. The blog is at reviewjournal.com/elfman.