Navratilova shocked by Agassi's lies

Updated: October 30, 2009, 12:08 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

MIAMI -- Martina Navratilova drew a parallel Thursday between Andre Agassi and Roger Clemens, saying she's shocked the eight-time Grand Slam champion lied about drug use.

Agassi's upcoming autobiography contains an admission he used crystal meth in 1997 and failed a drug test -- a result he says was thrown out after he lied by saying he "unwittingly" took the substance.

"Shocking," Navratilova said Thursday from Sarasota, Fla., in a phone interview. "Not as much shock that he did it as shock he lied about it and didn't own up to it. He's up there with Roger Clemens, as far as I'm concerned. He owned up to it [in the book], but it doesn't help now."

Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner, has repeatedly denied using performance-enchancing drugs. His former personal trainer, Brian McNamee, claimed in the Mitchell report that he injected Clemens with steroids and human growth hormone at least 16 times in 1998, 2000 and 2001.

According to an excerpt of Agassi's autobiography "Open" published Wednesday in The Times of London, he blamed the positive drug test on accidentally drinking a soda spiked with meth. Agassi wrote that the ATP accepted his explanation and threw out the case.

"Andre lied and got away with it," Navratilova said. "You can't correct that now. Do you take away a title he wouldn't have won if he had been suspended? He beat some people when he should have been suspended."

Navratilova won a record 167 singles titles, including 18 in Grand Slam tournaments. She retired from singles in 1994 and played her last doubles match in 2006.

She said she found Agassi's decision to come out with the story now peculiar.

"How is it going to play out for him? I don't know," she said. "I don't know why he would come out now."

Sergei Bubka, the former Olympic pole vault champion who now is a member of the International Olympic Committee, called for action to be taken against Agassi despite the World Anti-Doping Agency's eight-year statute of limitations. WADA was formed two years after the time Agassi said he used crystal meth.

"I am very disappointed with this," Bubka told Reuters by phone. "That he lied and escaped and then continued [to compete] is really disappointing.

"With Agassi's case it is a legal issue. We should consult legal experts and see if we can do something about it. I would prefer to review it from a legal point of view and then to act."

Agassi retired in 2006. His autobiography will go on sale Nov. 9.

Information from The Associated Press and Reuters was used in this report.

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