The Reuters global sports blog
Agassi’s confessions could have knock-on effect for Serena
Andre Agassi’s decision to open his soul and tell the world he took drugs and then hoodwinked his governing body, the ATP, into believing his failed drugs test in 1997 was a mere mistake could not have come at a worse time for Australian and Wimbledon champion Serena Williams.
While Agassi has been condemned by players and pundits alike for tainting the image of his sport, tennis authorities have come under fire for not investigating the matter thoroughly and believing Agassi’s lies.
One of the accusations against the ATP was it brushed the whole episode under the carpet as it could not afford to ban one of its biggest draws on the men’s tour.
In light of the Agassi debacle 12 years ago, Williams knows she could be in for some stiff punishment from the International Tennis Federation (ITF) even though the cases are so different.
Williams is in many ways the face of women’s tennis as she has won more grand slams than any other active player – her tally currently standing at 11 – and is also the world number one.
But her foul-mouthed rant at a lineswoman during her U.S. Open semi-final defeat against Kim Clijsters has left the ITF, who run the four grand slam tournaments, facing a real dilemma.
Should they make a stand by banning one of the sport’s biggest stars from taking part in one or more grand slam tournaments? Or should they simply hit Williams with a larger fine than the $10,500 she was handed at Flushing Meadows so that tournaments do not suffer financial consequences by the no-show of the biggest names in women’s tennis.
With tennis, like the rest of the world, trying to survive the effects of the global credit crunch, tournaments rely on the big names to turn up in order to convince the paying public to part with their hard-earned cash.
For the ITF, this saga could not have come at a worse time. And as for Williams, could Agassi’s confessions cost her dear?
PHOTO: Andre Agassi of the U.S. prepares to serve during his tennis exhibition match against compatriot Pete Sampras at Venetian Macao in Macau October 25, 2009. REUTERS/Bobby Yip