Andre Agassi was on The Late Show last night promoting his new autobiography, Open. We’ve already heard the major revelation of the book – that Agassi used crystal meth in 1997 and lied to tennis officials to get around a failed drug test. Agassi discussed another bombshell on Letterman and revealed that his famous long mullet locks were replaced by a wig or “weave system” once his hair started falling out in the late 80s, when he was just 19. In fact he said he used too much conditioner the night before the French Open in 1990, and said that it started falling apart. He had it secured with a bunch of bobby pins for the match and was terrified of losing it. He ultimately lost to Andres Gomez. Here’s a link to the video of that match. (This news came out a couple of weeks ago, but this is the first time I’ve heard it.)
Andre eventually shaved his head in 1995, but continued wearing a wig, often with a hat, up until that point. His comeback not-so-coincidentally seemed to coincide with his decision to get rid of his security blanket hair. He won the Canadian Open and US Open in 1994, and went on to win multiple tournaments in 1995, reaching number 1. Maybe he should have ditched his hair much sooner.
I also heard part of Agassi’s interview on NPR’s Fresh Air yesterday. He told Terry Gross that tennis was often a punishment for him, and that as a teen he was shipped off to a tennis camp that he compared to prison. NPR has an excerpt from Open that reveals how much pain Agassi was in at the end of his career in 2006, at the age of 36. He was born with a condition called spondylolisthesis that can pinch the nerves in the spine and cause sharp pain. He had to rely on cortisone shots to cope. He has a love/hate relationship with tennis and writes “I play tennis for a living, even though I hate tennis, hate it with a dark and secret passion, and always have.” The book has a first person account of what Agassi went through and it’s written in the present tense. I kind of enjoyed the excerpts I’ve seen online, although I’m not sure I would take the time read it. Agassi has a lot of fans, though and it looks like his promotional efforts have been successful. The book is currently #3 on the Amazon sales charts. Sarah Palin’s book Going Rogue is first, followed by Stephen King’s Under The Dome.
And here’s Agassi today. Photos below are from yesterday and credit: WENN.com. He is a good looking man, and some of us love the baldies.