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November 11, 2009

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Safin says Agassi should return the millions he made in prize money

MARAT Safin has suggested a way out to help Andre Agassi clear his conscience after his admission that he lied about using drugs - hand back the millions of dollars he made in prize money.

Safin also said Agassi might also want to consider forfeiting all the titles he won during his long and celebrated career if he was serious about coming clean.

"He feels guilty? So let him just give back his titles, money, his grand slams!" Safin told the French sports daily L'Equipe yesterday. "If he is so fair play, he should go all the way. You know, ATP have a bank account, he can refund if he wants to."

Safin also questioned Agassi's motives for revealing his past drug use in his autobiography.

In his book 'Open', Agassi revealed he had used and tested positive for crystal meth in 1997 but escaped punishment by lying to the investigators.

The American has since spoken about his remorse over his actions but Safin said he was concerned about the way in which he confessed.

"I won't write my biography. I do not need any money. The question is: why did he do it?" Safin said. "What's done is done. He hopes to sell more books. But he is completely stupid!"

"I do not defend the ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) but what he said put them in a bad position. ATP allowed him to win a lot of tournaments, to make a lot of money. They kept his secret so why be so cruel with them? There are times you need to be able to shut up."

Earlier this month, the World Anti-Doping Agency said it was investigating whether to lay fresh charges against Agassi.

Safin meanwhile is finding it more and more painful to play tennis but the good news is that he probably just has to do it for one more match.


The former world No. 1 faces US Open champion Juan Martin del Porto next at the Paris Masters and was the first to acknowledge his chances were thin.

"At the end of the day, I don't think I'm going to be the winner," the 29-year-old Safin, who has been hampered by injuries throughout his career, said.

"The closer the end is, the tougher it gets," he said. "The second part of the year was really heavy. I didn't want to leave the house, fly somewhere and be out of my home for three, four weeks.

"Picking up the bags, going to the airport, staying in traffic, passport control, waiting for the bags again, it was getting really heavy."

Safin acknowledged he was not trying very hard in training.

"The second half of the year, I didn't do much, basically," he said. "I have no fitness coach travelling with me, so it's just matches."

Still a crowd favorite at the Paris Bercy hall, where he lifted the trophy three times, Safin has low ambitions this year and does not really mind.

"The years before I was aiming to get as close as possible to the final and to earn some points," he said. "Right now I don't really care."


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