Agassi admits to taking drugs

LONDON: Tennis great Andre Agassi has admitted he tested positive for hard drugs during his career and lied to sporting authorities to escape a ban, reports said today.

Agassi, one of the world's greatest tennis players with eight Grand Slam titles, reveals in his autobiography to testing positive for the highly addictive drug crystal methamphetamine. The champion, now 39, also says that he has always secretly hated playing tennis and lived in fear of his bad-tempered and violent father.

In the book, serialised in London-based The Times newspaper, Agassi reveals how he took crystal meth in 1997 when his form was falling and he was having doubts about his impending marriage to US actress Brooke Shields.

He duped the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) into believing he had taken the drug -- possession of which carries a maximum five-year jail sentence in the United States -- by accident, according to the newspaper's website.

The repercussions for Agassi's career could have been disastrous if the positive test was made public at the time.