Among the first ladies of media interviews, Katie Couric got the TV scoop and was the first to interview Andre Agassi about his new book, drug use and all. This, of course, is old hat by now. But Agassi never will be. Whether you love him or hate him, a lot of people seemed to feel that she was too easy on him. But you may have missed a second interview with Terry Gross of NPR, the radio interview queen. They talked for a full 35 minutes. What a dull piece of mush that was. So, if you thought Couric was on a softball team, Gross and Agassi played around with a whiffle ball, with you as the umpire.
Will we also see an interview with Barbara Walters? And can we ever count her out?
The hoopla lives on. I just watched one of the better interviews with Agassi on Borders Media. To me, it is the one time that Agassi seems credible, sincere, and, dare I say humble?
But there is one powerful media mogul missing in this mix. What about Oprah? She got the jump on Sarah Palin, who appeared on her show to plug her new book, “Going Rogue.” Before she retires in 2011, will Oprah, who invites just about everyone who is anyone to appear on her show, make some room on her infamous yellow couch for Andre, for yet another plug for “Open”? I’d love to see that one. But, if it doesn’t happen, and at this point it may be passé, I always have my imagination, which has created this fantasy interview. I share it here with you. Let me emphasize, it’s meant to be fun.
Oprah: Why Andre, we're all so surprised at you! How could you possibly do something you hated so much? Why should we believe you now?
AA: Well, Oprah, I didn't really have much choice. As I say in the book, my father really drove me very hard, so I felt I had no alternative.
O: But Andre, I had a rough childhood, too. But would you believe me if I told you that I understand how you could fake that. You always looked so happy when you won. Was that fakery, too? If so, Andre, you are really good at it. How do we know you aren't faking things now?
AA: I guess you just have to trust me on that. You know, having Stefanie in my life has made all the difference for me. I have been able to unburden myself to her and she has accepted me with all my flaws and past transgressions.
O: If that's the case, then why did you feel the need to do the book? It seems a little self-centered of you.
AA: That's a good question, Oprah. Yeah, some people will say it's ego, but, to be honest-- and I am being so now-- I have wanted to set the record straight, for the tennis world in particular, for a long time. Now that I'm retired, I have had some time to reflect on my life. I have been in the public eye as a highly successful player and I have a tremendous number of fans. I think I owe them the real me.
O: But Andre, how could you condemn your father so publicly, even if the things you say about him are true?
AA: Well, Oprah, my relationship with my father is a significant part of how I came to be who I am. And, as I write in my book, for most of my life I really didn't know who I was. Today, can say that I am a happy husband, a proud father of two great kids, and one of the luckiest tennis players alive, even if I did hate it for most of my career.
O: Andre, one last question. How are you dealing with those in the tennis community who are critical of you?
AA: I can understand that people in the tennis community would have negative reactions to my revelations about my drug use, although I do think some comments are overly harsh. I don't think it's appropriate that, as the now-retired Marat Safin suggested, I give back titles or money since I took no performance -enhancing drugs. Granted, I did break rules and cover up what I did. I am not doing this to ease a guilty conscience, but as a sincere attempt to make things better for someone else, which is why I wrote my book."
O: Well, Andre, thanks for coming here today. And for being so honest. I'm sure everyone wishes you and your family the best. Let me give you a hug.
AA: (Hugs Oprah) Thank you for having me here, Oprah. I brought one of my old tennis rackets with me, and I've signed it. I hope you'll give it to one of the deserving kids that come on your show- an up and coming tennis player. Maybe it will inspire him or her to take the right path, and do things different than I did.
O: (laughing) Wow. An Andre Agassi racket! I may just keep it myself and take up tennis!
Agassi exits stage.
O: Ladies and gentlemen. Whatever Andre Agassi did, I think we can all appreciate the effort it took for him to turn his life around, and the courage to be so open about it. In my book, he is well deserving of the compassion that we all should have for someone who was such a tortured soul for most of his life. And, by the way, the title of his book is “Open.” AND EVERYONE HERE IS GETTING A COPY TODAY!
The audience, mostly women, squeals with glee.
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