Sport | Tennis

Federer, Nadal upset with Agassi doping disclosure

Former champion finds support in Roddick

  • Agencies
  • Published: 00:00 October 31, 2009
  • Gulf News

Miami: Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal both voiced their displeasure at Andre Agassi after the former world No 1 revealed he took the recreational drug crystal meth in 1997 and lied about the reasons for a positive test.

"To me it seems terrible," world No 2 Nadal said at an awards ceremony in Madrid on Thursday. "Why is he saying this now that he has retired?

"It's a way of damaging the sport that makes no sense. I believe our sport is clean and I am the first one that wants that.

"Cheats must be punished and if Agassi was a cheater during his career he should have been punished."

World No 1 Roger Federer, who beat Agassi in the final of the 2005 US Open, also spoke of his sadness at the eight times major winner's admission in his new autobiography Open.

"It was a shock when I heard the news," Federer said at a sponsors' meeting at Kilchberg near Zurich.

"I am disappointed and I hope there are no more such cases in future.... our sport must stay clean."

However, Agassi found support at home with fellow American and Wimbledon finalist Andy Roddick saying the 39-year-old remained his hero despite the revelations.

Idol

Roddick, the leading US men's player who lost to Federer in this year's Wimbledon final, was one of many compatriots who remained unfazed by Agassi's admissions.

"Andre is and always will be my idol. I will judge him on how he has treated me and how he has changed the world for [the] better," Roddick wrote on his Twitter page.

Roddick said Agassi's letter to the ATP, in which he told the governing body he had failed a drugs test because his drink had been spiked, came at a time when the player was far from his peak.

"To be fair, when Andre wrote the reported letter, he was well outside the top 100 and widely viewed as on the way out," said Roddick.

Women's world number two Serena Williams reacted to the news by plugging her own book.

"I don't even know what crystal meth is so, you know, that's what my reaction to it is. I haven't read anything about Andre Agassi's book. All I know is that I have a book coming out," she told reporters at the WTA Championships in Doha. Serena's sister Venus, the world No 7, added: "His book will probably sell. It seems very interesting, to say the least."

Electronic editionput on hold

Andre Agassi's Open will not be available as an e-book when the hardcover comes out on November 9, and publisher Alfred A. Knopf has not set a date for a digital version.

"We're not releasing an e-book at this time but may consider releasing one in the future," Knopf spokesman Paul Bogaards said on Thursday.

Publishers worry that the growing e-market will take business from the more expensive hardcovers.

In Agassi's book, No. 9 on the best-seller list of Amazon.com on Thursday, he acknowledges using crystal meth in the 1990s and then lying to the ATP Tour after failing a 1997 drug test.

Gulf News
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