Agassi: No regrets writing tell-all book


Seven months after his autobiography "Open" debuted on bookshelves, Andre Agassi has no regrets about his decision to let the world in on his life.

Agassi is not second-guessing his decision to write the tell-all book, even though he admitted using drugs, which resulted in some of tennis' greatest performers criticizing and questioning whether the Las Vegas legend's accomplishments were tarnished.

"The choice was to write the book or not," Agassi said Wednesday at the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy, where five students received college scholarships. "The choice isn't to write the book and kinda talk about your life. It's about telling my story honestly and transparently."

"Open," which reached No. 1 on the New York Times' best seller list in November, has sold 530,000 copies. The book's paperback version goes on sale Aug. 10 with a first printing of 200,000 copies.

"I don't know how many books have been sold," he said. "It wasn't about that. My hope is whoever reads it was profoundly impacted, one way or the other."

Agassi said he has spoken to a few of his critics, including Martina Navratilova, who condemned Agassi's use of crystal methamphetamine when he was 22 years old and likened it to today's athletes using steroids and performance-enhancing drugs.

"I did talk to Martina, and she said she felt bad how she was represented in her comments," Agassi said. "I told her not to worry about it.

"When I talk to people who spoke out about me, I asked them, 'Did you read the book or not?' They hadn't read it. I don't have any resentment toward anyone."

The one regret Agassi does have was his joke about fellow legend Pete Sampras when the two were playing in a fundraising match with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in Indian Wells, Calif., for victims of the January earthquake in Haiti. Sampras had made fun of Agassi's pigeon-toed gait, and Agassi made a joke about Sampras being a cheap tipper.

Sampras bristled at the crack and launched a less-than-friendly serve in Agassi's direction. It put a damper on what had been a fun evening.

"There were probably 150 jokes told during that match and one that bombed," Agassi said. "I have great respect for Pete, and I did call him and apologize."

Now 40 years old, Agassi said his appearances on the tennis court will be few and probably just for charity purposes. He will not play another season of World Team Tennis after spending last summer with the Philadelphia Freedoms.

"I've always been supportive of Team Tennis," he said. "I enjoyed it, but it's hard to get out there at my age."

Don't look for a sequel to "Open," either. "I think my days as an author are over," he said. "It wasn't easy, and writing the book in a present tense was the hardest part. It's a real high-wire act."

Contact reporter Steve Carp at scarp@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2913.

 

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