Federer & Nadal ‘shocked’ by Agassi drug revelations
The current top two in the men’s game demand answers for the ATP’s behaviour over drug lies
Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal, the top two tennis players in the world at the moment, have both declared themselves shocked at the news that the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) had helped to cover up Andre Agassi's positive test for crystal meth in 1997, while the American was still competing on the circuit. "If the ATP covered for Agassi then I think that's dreadful," Nadal said.
"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. The Spaniard also questioned Agassi's timing with his revelations: "Now that he is retired, he comes out and says this. It's a way of senselessly damaging the sport."
Federer, for whom 2009 was an unexpected annus miribilis containing four grand slam final appearances and two trophies, was "disappointed" by the news, saying that "it was a shock when I heard." However he urged fans to focus on the American's achievements beyond tennis. "[Andre Agassi] has done a lot for tennis, both as a player and as a human being. Today, he raises millions of dollars for his foundation for disadvantaged children."
Agassi's fellow American, Andy Roddick, also supported his compatriot. "Andre is and always will be my idol. I will judge him on how he has treated me and how he has changed the world for (the) better," the world number seven wrote on his Twitter page. "To be fair, when Andre wrote the reported letter, he was well outside the top 100 and widely viewed as on the way out."
Meanwhile the ATP was heavily criticised yesterday by Dick Pound, the former head of the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada). "It has got to the point where either these sports organisations enforce the rules or someone like Congress is going to say 'we gave you a chance to manage your affairs properly and now we are going to take it over'," the Canadian said.
"The fact that one of the stars acknowledged that it is simple to beat the system tells you everything you need to know. He lied about the test but the most interesting part is the ATP and why they did not do anything." ·
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