- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
My name, my career, everything is now on the line. Whatever I've achieved, whatever I've worked for, might soon mean nothing. Part of my discomfort with tennis has always been a nagging sense that it's meaningless. Now I'm about to learn the true meaning of meaninglessness. Serves me right.
Days later I write a letter to the ATP. It's filled with lies interwoven with bits of truth. I acknowledge that the drugs were in my system—but I assert that I never knowingly took them. I say Slim, whom I've since fired, is a known drug user, and that he often spikes his sodas with meth—which is true. Then I come to the central lie of the letter. I say that recently I drank accidentally from one of Slim's spiked sodas, unwittingly ingesting his drugs. I ask for understanding and leniency and hastily sign it: Sincerely.
I feel ashamed, of course. I promise myself that this lie is the end of it.
The next April, I'm in Rome, lying on my hotel bed, resting after a match. The phone rings. It's my lawyers; they're on speakerphone. Andre? Can you hear us? Andre?
Yes, I hear you. Go ahead.
Well, the ATP has carefully reviewed your heartfelt assertion of innocence. We're pleased to say that your explanation has been accepted. Your failed test is thrown out.
I hang up and stare into space, thinking again and again: New life.
She spreads a towel on the sand and pulls off her jeans. Underneath she's wearing a white one-piece bathing suit. She walks out into the water, up to her knees. She stands with one hand on her hip, the other shielding her eyes from the sun, scanning the horizon.
She asks, You coming in?