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Agassi seeks atonement

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Connector of the Day: Andre Agassi
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Former tennis player Andre Agassi said his drug use revelations are to help atone for the mistakes he has made
  • Agassi confessed to using the highly-addictive narcotic crystal meth in his autobiography 'Open'
  • The former world number one also insisted the inclusion of the revelations were not influenced by money
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(CNN) -- Andre Agassi has exclusively told CNN that the revelations in his book about drug use are to help atone for the mistakes he has made and are not motivated by money.

The 39-year-old American, who is only one of six men in history to have completed a career grand slam of winning titles at all four majors, confessed in his autobiography 'Open' that he took the highly-addictive narcotic crystal meth in 1997 while suffering poor form and to quell worries about his upcoming marriage to actress Brooke Shields.

And Agassi - who is married to former women's tennis player Steffi Graf - is hopeful that the book will be able to help those in mainstream life who suffer from addiction problems.

"This is not something you put in a press release or something you communicate in a headline or an article -- this is a body of work which is my life and is part of my journey," Agassi said.

"And it is one that took me a long time to process. It wasn't really until that I was done playing that I started to have time, energy and perspective to look inward and figure out what it is I've been through and what is has meant.

"Every day from that second chance I had I've been atoning for this -- it has been a heavy weight on me. This book is an atonement of sorts because in it I believe I give the tools and inspirations to help a lot of people that I'll never meet in a lot of different ways.

Be clear that this book comes at greater risk than it ever comes as a reward. In terms of economic reasons I have way more to lose than I have to gain.
--Andre Agassi

"People who wake up in a life that they find themselves in; people who wake up in a marriage they don't want be in; teenagers who are struggling to understand who they are, and are maybe trying to find ways to avoid the pitfalls I found myself falling into.

"If this book can help one person, let alone millions, and if the cost of that is a reality of who I am, and the truth of who I am, then it is a price that I think I had to pay."

Former world number one Agassi, who retired from playing in September 2006, also admitted that he was not put under any pressure by the book's publisher to include the revelations about his use of the drug -- and revealed that they knew nothing of the information until the final draft.

He added: "The publisher didn't know about it through all nine drafts -- I had it written, but it wasn't in the drafts because this wasn't something I wanted associated with it but it was something I always knew I was going to put in at the end.

"The anger and disappointment is understandable -- I spent years being angry and disappointed in myself and I spent years of me processing this.

"As for my reasons and motivations -- be clear that this book comes at greater risk than it ever comes as a reward. In terms of economic reasons I have way more to lose than I have to gain. The power of this story, I believe, will make a difference in people's lives."