For Agassi at Hit For Haiti: It's Not What You Say, Its What You Do
I was fortunate enough to attend last night's "Hit for Haiti" match between Sampras, Federer, Agassi, and Nadal. For me, it was a dream come true to finally see Sampras and Agassi play again on the same court as they both have long retired.
This match was the tennis equivalent of the NBA's Dream Team in 1992, who would have ever fathomed that Sampras, Federer, Agassi, and Nadal would share the same court together? The tennis world (and Haiti) is forever thankful to Larry Ellison and Roger Federer for making this event happen. The event raised over $1 million dollars for the Red Cross and Haiti.
While no one in the crowd expected it to be a competitive match, we all knew we would be thoroughly entertained by four of the greatest men's tennis players of the last 20 years.
Having watched these charity matches on T.V. before, I knew we would be in for some surprises since the players had mics attached to their head, especially with Agassi who is always "Open" about his thoughts.
Everyone in the crowd loved the barbs traded between players, with Agassi teasing each of the players, Federer mimicking Nadal's grunts and whipping western forehand, and Sampras's imitation of Agassi's infamous waddle.
It was all fine and dandy until Andre "got personal" with Pete about his $1 tip to a valet driver 15 years ago. The crowd immediately knew it bothered Pete and there was an awkward silence in the stadium for the next few minutes until Pete served a bullet towards Andre's head.
Did Agassi go too far and too personal with Sampras? Yes, Sampras didn't deserve that.
But does it really matter or did it take anything away from the Charity match? No.
Andre Agassi did what he has always done best the past 25 years for tennis: create controversy and excitement. From the rebel in the commercials with the hair and dating Brooke Shields, to the inspirational comeback player who eventually won slams on all surfaces, and finally to the retired legend who writes an autobiography which admits using illegal drugs.
While Federer and Sampras may be the "Greatest of All time," it is Agassi, along with McEnroe, who have been the best spokesmen and promoters the tennis world has ever known.
For those disappointed in Agassi for his remarks, let's not forget that he is one of the most charitable athletes out there, alongside Lance Armstrong and David Robinson.
In closing, to set the record straight Pete Sampras has also been able to donate and raise millions of dollars towards brain cancer, AIDS, and charities for children.
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