Agassi responds to criticism

Updated: November 5, 2009, 5:11 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Andre Agassi responded to criticism of his crystal meth use with a plea for compassion, telling "60 Minutes" he needed help when he took the drug while depressed in 1997.

Discussing his new autobiography, Agassi became emotional when reacting to comments by Martina Navratilova, who compared him to Roger Clemens.

"It's what you don't want to hear," Agassi told interviewer Katie Couric. "I would hope along with that would come some compassion that maybe this person doesn't need condemnation. Maybe this person could stand a little help. Because that was at a time in my life when I needed help.

"I had a problem, and there might be many other athletes out there that test positive for recreational drugs that have a problem. So I would ask for some compassion," he said.

CBS released excerpts from the interview Thursday and will broadcast it Sunday night.

In his book "Open," which goes on sale Monday, the eight-time Grand Slam champion says 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.

In an interview last week with The Associated Press, Navratilova said she was shocked Agassi lied about the drug use. She compared him to Clemens, who has repeatedly denied using performance-enhancing drugs, countering claims by his former personal trainer.

Agassi told "60 Minutes" he has no regrets about his disclosures.

"I had way more to lose by telling this story in its full transparency than I had to gain," he said. "The part that I worry and think more about is who this may help."


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

ALSO SEE