Tennis player Andre Agassi’s shocking revelation that he tested positive for hard drugs during his career and lied to sporting authorities to escape a ban reinforces the need for stringent anti-doping measures and their implementation. The image of the great game has taken a massive beating with the eight-time Grand Slam champion saying he managed to escape punishment after offering a half-baked explanation. It is quite evident that the ATP overlooked the gravity of the incident and decided that the player was greater than the game. Tennis fans across the globe, I am sure, will be left wondering how many more stars and champions are out there waiting to confess.
Agassi’s disclosure is bound to stun his fans across the globe. It is a matter of deep surprise and sorrow that he used a banned substance and escaped a suspension by blaming his positive test on a spiked drink. Do his autobiographical reflections amount to confessions? Will he be stripped of his Grand Slam titles? In all fairness, he should, as a sportsman, relinquish the titles and return to the treasury the prize money and the wealth he earned because of his status. It is sad that the pedestal which was built by his admirers has been pulled down by the player himself.
R. Ramachandra Rao,
Agassi’s admission brings to light one more incident of sportspersons using performance-enhancing drugs. The lure of big prize money is one of the reasons, apart from improving ATP rankings, for taking to drugs which is common in other sports also. Many Olympics medal winners have been disqualified after testing positive. WADA is yet to bring a semblance of discipline in the most drug-abused game of wrestling. Track and field events are no exception.
It is disappointing to learn that Agassi used crystal meth and got away after lying to the authorities. Worse are the self-centred reasons he has cited for sharing the information with the world. I wonder how many other sportspersons have used/are using recreational drugs. It is indeed disgusting to learn that a player so admired played, perhaps won titles, trophies, world recognition and adoration, under the influence of drugs. What a fraud on the fans! Agassi should be stripped of his titles.