Tennis star's battle against depression

After Andre Agassi's confession that he hated tennis and took crystal meth at a low point in his life, another former tennis star is about to reveal that he battled with depression through much of his career.

Cliff Richey, who beat Rod Laver and Ken Rosewall among others to become the sport's first Grand Prix world champion in 1970, was the bad boy of tennis long before John McEnroe came along, his talent on the court often sullied by temper tantrums and general boorishness.

In Acing Depression, the Texan -- brother of one-time Australian and French Open champion Nancy Richey -- describes how his behaviour was a mask behind which he waged a lonely struggle against psychological problems that would sometimes drive him to black out the windows of his house and spend whole days in bed, crying.

Now 64, Richey's condition is under control and he devotes much energy to raising awareness of mental health issues. His book contributes to his campaign by describing his personal nightmare and how it was not until the eve of his 50th birthday that his illness was properly diagnosed and treatment allowed to begin.

In the foreword to Acing Depression, his friend Jimmy Connors, the former world number one, said that Richey has approached depression as he would an opponent, learning "what its weaknesses are and what strategies you can use against it.

"His hope is that people who read his story can learn about the disease and learn that people who suffer can have a better quality of life."

Acing Depression: A Tennis Champion's Toughest Match is published by New Chapter Press on April 1.