“It’s a way of damaging the sport” – When Rafael Nadal expressed displeasure with Andre Agassi over doping scandal

Andre Agassi once received criticism from Rafael Nadal over his shocking revelations of consuming drugs and covering it up during his tennis career. Nadal called for action to be taken against Agassi despite it being an old matter that occurred during the American’s playing days.

In his 2009 autobiography titled Open, Agassi revealed that he took the recreational drug crystal meth back in 1997 and lied about the same after testing positive after a drug test. He told the ATP that his drink had been spiked, which is how he tested positive. The American tennis great got away with the excuse back then and was not banned by the association.

Shortly after the revelation, Nadal questioned Agassi’s timing before stating that the American player’s comments tarnished the sport’s image.

“To me it seems terrible. Why is he [Andre Agassi] saying this now that he has retired?” Nadal said in a 2009 interview, according to Reuters. “It’s a way of damaging the sport that makes no sense.”
He then declared that Agassi should have been punished for cheating if he was caught doing so and was disappointed to see the clean image of tennis being questioned as a result of the scandal.
“I believe our sport is clean and I am the first one that wants that. Cheaters must be punished and if Agassi was a cheater during his career he should have been punished,” Nadal added.

“Lack of respect for all sportsmen” – Rafael Nadal on Andre Agassi’s drug test cover-up
Speaking during another interview then, Rafael Nadal further lamented the fact that the ATP and other relevant associations had not investigated the case and simply believed Andre Agassi’s claims that his drink had been spiked.

Agassi was a three-time Grand Slam champion during that time but had fallen outside the Top 140 in the rankings owing to a slump in form.

“If the ATP covered for Agassi then I think that’s dreadful,” Nadal was quoted as saying by the BBC.
The Spaniard opined that the incident was disrespectful to athletes in general as Agassi was allowed to get away with lying while other players who tested positive were punished.

“If they covered for the player and punished others for doing the same kind of thing then that would seem to me to be a lack of respect for all sportsmen,” he added.
In his autobiography, Agassi further stated that he thought about the impact of his revelations for some time, but later came to be excited about telling the world his story as he was someone who wore his heart on his sleeve. Agassi ended up winning five more Grand Slam singles titles after the 1997 doping scandal, including three Australian Open titles.

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