Andre Agassi admits past drug use

Oct 27, 2009 at 11:48 p.m. ET

Tennis great Andre Agassi reveals a shocking confession in his new bio: an addiction to crystal meth in the late '90s.

Following in the footsteps of other celebs who drop a bombshell to push book sales and pay the mortgage, Agassi's bio Open also details his hair loss, how his marriage to Brooke Shieldsfell apart and how he fell in love with current wife Steffi Graf.

"I can't speak to addiction, but a lot of people would say that if you're using anything as an escape, you have a problem," he told People.

Shields and Agassi married in April 1997 and divorced in April 1999 just short of two years of what sounds like not such wedded bliss. According to Agassi's characterization of his addiction being at its height in the late '90s, his drug use could be a huge reason why the couple split.

In excerpts released by the publisher, Agassi writes that an assistant named Slim got him high for the first time.

"Slim is stressed too... He says, You want to get high with me? On what? Gack. What the hell's gack? Crystal meth. Why do they call it gack? Because that's the sound you make when you're high ... Make you feel like Superman, dude."

"As if they're coming out of someone else's mouth, I hear these words: You know what? F*** it. Yeah. Let's get high."

"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."

"I'm seized by a desperate desire to clean. I go tearing around my house, cleaning it from top to bottom. I dust the furniture. I scour the tub. I make the beds."

The same year Shields and Agassi wed, and around the same time Agassi's drug use started, his career also began to take a nosedive. By 1997 his ranking had plummeted to number 151, down from being number one in the world a mere two years earlier.

In the book, Agassi writes he failed a drug test and then successfully lied to officials to avoid a competition ban by writing a letter stating he drank from a contaminated glass.

"My name, my career, everything is now on the line. Whatever I've achieved, whatever I've worked for, might soon mean nothing. Days later I sit in a hard-backed chair, a legal pad in my lap, and write a letter to the ATP. It's filled with lies interwoven with bits of truth."

"I say Slim, whom I've since fired, is a known drug user, and that he often spikes his sodas with meth- which is true. Then I come to the central lie of the letter. 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."

Open is due out November 9, 2009.

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