Indian Wells, Calif.— Sitting beside famed tennis journalist Bud Collins for the "Hit for Haiti 2" charity event at the Tennis Gardens last night, I remained in full anticipation of an epic evening.
Not only was Collins' close proximity an added bonus in the commentary department, but the stands were packed, and four of the greatest players in the history of the game were sharing the same court.
With a well-deserved standing ovation for the four great players, Andre Agassi would steal the show right from the get go.
I'm not sure if Agassi felt the need to engage in his charismatic persona to ease the recent tension that he created with his recent autobiography Open.
Agassi took shots at Pete Sampras in his book stating that his American rival was "a cheap tipper," while the other two combatants of the night, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, were not in support of Agassi's crystal meth claim.
Again, whatever the case, or whatever Agassi did in the past did not really matter last night due to the overwhelming and refreshing response to helping the victims of the Haiti tragedy.
Raising a whopping $1 million by night's end, Agassi gave a glimpse into what the funds would be used for.
"Let's not forget that rain season, and hurricane season are shortly arriving in Haiti," said Agassi. "Things could get even worse for the people of Haiti."
The American Red Cross also did a tremendous job of collecting extra donations for Haiti, walking around the grounds with donation buckets, and providing spectators with a commemorative pin. All in all, it was a great night for all to behold.
But before I get ready to head on over for another day of action at the first Masters 1000 event of the season, let's spend a moment on reflecting on the tension between Agassi and Sampras midway between the contest.
Remaining quiet for a majority of the affair, Sampras decided to finally make his voice heard by imitating Agassi's famed "pigeon-toed walk."
Not taking Sampras' antics in the best way possible, Agassi told Sampras that "he should try and tip more than a dollar next time he's out."
Being the classy champion that he's always been, Sampras decided to brush aside Agassi's comment, but the look on Pete's face, and lull in the stadium was ever present.
The remainder of the match would not be anywhere as exciting as its commencing theatrics. I couldn't help but ask myself why would Agassi go there?
Was it really necessary to bring the energy of match to a standstill with his smug comment?
I'm not sure that Agassi completely reflected on his choice of words before sharing them with the 17,000 in attendance, but I'd love to know if the eight-time Slam champion could go back and retract his statement, would he?
Did I mention that Federer and Nadal were a part of this event? I know right, two pretty good players playing with two pretty players. But it's a shame, really, that Federer and Nadal didn't give more of their personalities to the contest.
Nadal was pretty much absent, albeit the language barrier and his shy demeanor. Federer, on the other hand, tried his hand at being charming and humorous, but let's be honest, it wasn't funny in the least.
It was also evident throughout the 45-minute affair that Agassi was truly one of the most engaging characters in the history of the game.
The fans and players for that matter were connected to his every word, hanging in the bounds until his next dramatic sentence would spill out.
It's just a shame, to me anyway, that Agassi simply crossed the line with his remarks to Sampras. Telling his rival to shave his head, or that he's too old to play was cool, but calling him a cheapskate and the worst tipper ever was a tad too much.
Nevertheless, it was a once in a lifetime event, and one which raised a tremendous amount of money for a great cause.
Let's hope for more charity events of this nature in the future; events which will aid with the recent string of natural disasters.
We love your charm and charisma, Andre, but next time, keep your shots and your words over the belt.