Hit for Haiti 2: Agassi Disrespects Sampras
by Ben Pronin | March 13th, 2010, 8:46 am
  • 118 Comments

The Hit for Haiti 2 made a million dollar donation to Haiti, but it left me with a sour taste in my mouth.

First, Lindsay Davenport and Steffi Graff lost 8-6 to Martina Navratilova and Justine Henin. Henin was coming off a tough early round loss in the actual tournament just hours earlier but it was nice to see her enjoying herself. There’s not much to say about this match. There were a couple of flashy shots here and there but Navratilova and Henin were significantly better. Why didn’t they mix up the teams to make it more even?

Then the main event: Roger Federer and Pete Sampras vs Andre Agassi and Rafael Nadal. After seeing how fun Federer and Nadal were in the first Hit for Haiti in Melbourne, I was pretty excited about this. Throwing in Agassi and Sampras seemed like we were in for maybe the greatest night in tennis. And things started out great. There was a lot of banter between Agassi and Federer with both of them teasing each other much to the delight of the crowd. But as the night went along, Agassi’s mouth just got bigger and bigger.

You know things are getting weird when Rafa Nadal has to tell Agassi to settle down some. And he did for a few minutes. But, as if he couldn’t handle the quiet, he decided to provoke Sampras.

Up to that point, Sampras, and to some extent Nadal, was particularly quiet. Tracy Austin, who was commentating, pretty much nailed it when she said it was just like when they were playing: Agassi was always showboating and Sampras was reserved and serious. Since this was a fun event, I wanted to see Sampras joke around a little and show some personality rather than playing as if it was a slam final. Agassi was clearly relaxed, Federer was enjoying himself, and Nadal was getting into the conversation here and there.

So when Agassi provoked him, I thought would finally see Sampras have some fun. Sampras’s idea of fun was impersonating Agassi. He walked back, fixed his strings, imitated the pigeon walk, walked over the baseline then back. Playing a guy over 34 times results in a pretty spot on impersonation. But then Agassi decided to do his impersonation of Sampras. I thought we were going to see the tongue hanging out, the slumped shoulders, maybe the service motion. Instead, Agassi pulls his pockets inside out and says something along the lines of “Tip? I don’t have any money… Oh wait! Here’s a dollar.”

For those of you who didn’t get it, in Agassi’s autobiography, Open, Agassi writes about an instance where he happened to go to the same restaurant as Sampras. Agassi and his coach, Brad Gilbert, left minutes after Sampras. Beforehand, they bet on how much Sampras would tip the valet. Gilbert thought Sampras would tip plenty considering his daily income, but when they asked the valet, they found out he only tipped him one dollar. Whether you agree with any of these three is besides the point. Agassi decided to bring it up during a live, charity exhibition where everyone was there to have a good time. This resulted in some quarreling between Sampras and Agassi while Federer and Nadal were just standing there clearly feeling incredibly uncomfortable. Federer even asked Nadal to say something but Nadal was at a loss for words. It was an awkward moment for everyone watching and an unnecessarily tense moment between Sampras and Agassi.

Considering how classy Agassi has been in the last decade, this was an unbelievably low blow. Sampras served at Agassi and claimed Agassi made it personal. Agassi said it wasn’t personal because everyone knows. The only good thing that came out of this was that Sampras finally started playing tennis instead of missing every thing that came his way. In the end, Sampras and Federer recovered after being down a break to win 8-6. The match was actually quite enjoyable with everyone exchanging some awesome rallies at various points.

When the match was over, Agassi and Sampras seemed to hug it out during which Sampras said, “You know I only have love for you.” Then when Justin Gimelstob interviewed the players (skipping over Federer and Nadal), Sampras reiterated and said he has no ill feelings towards Agassi. Agassi didn’t reply to Sampras but had some nice words about the event and helping Haiti.

At the end of it all, I don’t understand why Agassi ended up being more mad at Sampras. Agassi instigated the whole fight and Sampras showed some real class by saying what he said. And if you saw the match, you’d agree that during the whole ordeal, Sampras was absolutely fuming.

I’ve been waiting to find a legitimate reason to dislike Justin Gimelstob since everyone else seems to and he finally gave me one. Instead of “setting the record straight” between Agassi and Sampras, Gimelstob thought it was better to “set the record straight” about Sampras’s tipping habits. After reading and praising Agassi’s book and defending him as a person, I’m thoroughly disappointed. He behaved like a spoiled child who found some mysterious reason to be cross with Sampras. At least the other champions exhibited class.

Fun Fact: Sampras and Federer hold a significant combined edge of 30 slams to 14 held by Agassi and Nadal. However, their combined official head-to-head’s are 27-27.

EDITOR NOTE: Added video footage of key incident:

Another link to official full match segments: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cLvllw73vA4


Also Check Out:
Federer, Sampras, Nadal, Agassi Team-Up in Hit For Haiti Exo
Hit for Haiti Free Online Stream Available
Andre Agassi Issues Apology for Behavior During Hit for Haiti
Andre Agassi Doesn’t Know If He’ll Play In The IPTL; Won’t Say Never To Coaching [Video]
Agassi Cleared…for More Exos: Tennis-X Notes

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118 Comments for Hit for Haiti 2: Agassi Disrespects Sampras

madmax Says:

Ben, hi.

I havent actually seen the full hitforhaiti exho yet as i couldnt get a live stream yesterday, but its on UK time here – at 3.30 on Eurosports. Great news!

I read the post interview from sampras and he doesnt really seem too bothered by it – I have posted an extract from the interview here – the conversation is slightly different to what you reported above –

I watched the 9 minute youtube highlights version, and it looked as if agassi was laughing at sampras when he did his imitation pigeon walk, but that pete didnt have a sense of humour at agassi’s retort? (fully appreciate different opinions as i havent seen the full version). But surely, if sampras says more or less “no hard feelings and the love is still there”, then really, we have to take sampras’s word for it?

just a point Ben, is the valet trustworthy? was he joking perhaps when he said that sampras had tipped him a dollar? with all the good causes that sampras has done in the past, it doesnt really matter – and anyway, may be if it is true, he just didnt have any “change” with him? just trying to think of the “maybes”.

With Agassi playfully talking trash throughout the night, Pete took his shot midway through the match when he imitated Agassi, doing his bow-legged walk. Agassi returned the favor by pulling out his empty pockets, a reference to an assertion in his book ?Open? that Sampras once tipped a valet $1.

Sampras responded, ?Andre, you got personal.?

Agassi replied, ?No, no. Everyone knows already.?

On Sampras’ serve, which was to be to Nadal on the ad court, he unleashed a serve way over Agassi’s head.

On the change over, Tennis Channel commentator Justin Gimbelstob talked to both.

Agassi, for the most part, didn’t seem to take offense.

Later in the match, Sampras mis-hit a serve that hit the chairs near a ball girl, to which Agassi said, ?That’s OK ball girl, he did that to me too.?

At the end of the match, Agassi went to Sampras and hugged him.

?It got tense with Andre, but I want to say I love you. I have no animosity toward you,? Sampras said in the post-match interview.

?Both players have a tremendous amount of pride, but I think all the kidding around was good-natured. It wasn’t serious,? Ellison said.

All the players had microphones. Agassi was the star of the men’s match with his constant chatting and sometimes taunting of Federer.


Emma Says:

I was really disappointed, mostly in Agassi, but I though Sampras should have taken it as more of a joke. Even so like you say Agassi acted like a child. It’s so sad because in all the media coverage of the event people seem to be focussing on Agassi’s banter or the Agassi/Sampras tension, bypassing Fed and Rafa and how great a collaboration this was despite what went on.


Dari Says:

This was a jerk move Andre. We can take it from the beginning and say that Pete was a bit uptight, but we should understand by now that is his personality. Could he have tried a little harder to be light-hearted and funny for a charity match? YES!
If every player who did a PHYSICAL impersonation of another rceieved a low blow back in the form of a dig about a DISPUTABLE “personality trait” we’d be in a lot of tense moments!
We coulda told you Pete would take it bad, Andre, why’d you have to go and do that?
Thanks Rog for your “This rivalry is intense,man” comment and thanks Rafa for being so sweet and not being able to speak much english. No thanks to you gimmelstob for “setting the record straight” about the tip story and capping it off with “nobody’s more generous than Andre” He has done more than possibly any other athlete in terms of TIME and money. Glad he had tons of goodwill stored up after this d**k move!
I hope steffi scolded him at home-in german!
Rafa/Rog love never looked so good!


sheilah Says:

i agree with you. andre definitely disrespects pete!he shouldn’t have said those things (tip issue) during their match.
well anyway, the match was really good. i love roger!he’s the best!
why were roger and rafa not interviewed after the match?! i was waiting for the interviewer to interview them as well but it didn’t happen…


Texastennis Says:

Thanks for some perspective, Madmax. Don’t overreact Ben. They both participated in that – how about Sampras ending it with that big serve right at Agassi. What was that but disrespect for the event? Sampras started that “personal” with imitating Agassi’s walk – why didn’t he think Agassi would say something “personal” back?
Anyway they both seemed fine at the net – Sampras gave Agassi a big hug at the net and made a point to say immediately he loves Agassi.
The women’s match was very dull and Agassi singlehandedly recovered the evening with his energy from the start of the men’s match – Federer went along with him. Would have been a dull dull evening without him there.


Mary Perdue Says:

I saw the whole thing live last night on Tennis Channel. Andre was clearly at fault. He was goading Sampras not to be so serious, so Sampras did the imitation, which was spot on and very funny. At the time, I was glad to see Sampras coming out of himself…it was definitely in the spirit of the moment and showed he was relaxed and enjoying himself. But then Agassi, who had been running his mouth the entire time, suddenly got quiet. He could dish it out but he couldn’t take it! When Agassi responded with the dig at Sampras regarding not tipping, it was clearly a low blow and Nadal and Federer were taken aback. Yes, Agassi wrote about this incident in his book, but to bring it up at a live televised event was incredibly tactless and cowardly. The only reason “everybody knows” as Agassi claimed in his defense, is because he chose to write about it and share it with the world in the first place! My opinion of Agassi has hit a new low. No way did Sampras deserve this, even if he did only give the guy a dollar a milliion years ago! He is a great champion and was there for charity just like everybody else. Andre was the first to make it “personal” and Sampras was right to take offense. I also agree that Justin G. fanned the flames and focused on the wrong thing. It’s too bad that the evening was marred by this stupidity. Federer and Nadal should be commended not only for their behavior during the match, but over the course of their rivalry, for their mutual respect and admiration for one another. C’mon, Andre….let the young gunsshow you how it should be done!!!!


Voicemale1 Says:

I was there last night. Ben, you missed the real essence of buildup to the boil over: Agassi would simply not stop talking. He walked onto the court like some Chatty Cathy Doll on steroids. The smack talk was expected because we all understood this was in good fun. But by 2-all his constant chatter was just getting tiresome – even to the audience (who actually would have liked to hear more from some of the other guys). When Agassi-Nadal broke to go 3-2 and came back out to serve in Game 6 – THAT’S when Nadal told Agassi to “stop a little bit”, which was before things boiled over. Agassi’s constant chattering was starting to grate on every nerve in the house; a lot of people sitting in our section were making comments about it. Undaunted, Agassi’s mouth just kept right on rolling. He was determined to make sure nobody forgot HE was on the court.

This is the reason Sampras decided to comically lighten the mood by imitating Agassi – and it’s not without precedent. They had done this exact same thing to each other at a charity celebrity event a while ago; and a lot of us in the audience knew that, which is why we laughed. he was hoping Agassi would pick up on it and do what he did then. But that wretch Agassi, in the spirit of a petulant child throwing a tantrum, went after Sampras with his stupid crack about the money instead. See, as I pointed out when his asinine book came out, Andre Agassi is (off the court) nothing more than a Spotlight Seeking Publicity Hound. This moment was a prime example of it. Agassi decided via his constant chattering that last night was HIS show; none of the other guys was gonna get a word in edgewise if he could help it. Sampras not only stole a moment of his own with real comic relief – he did so at Agassi’s expense which drew HUGE laughs. It was a rather tame way to tell Agassi to Shut The Hell Up Already Because We All Need Some Air And You’ve Been Sucking All The Oxygen Out Of Palm Springs Since We Walked Onto The Court – LOL! This irked Agassi beyond belief – after all, didn’t Sampras get the Agassi Press Release that this event was really the Andre Agassi Show with minor invited-guest roles going to him, Federer and Nadal?? Agassi’s uber thin skin revealed itself, attacking Sampras personally with that stupid comment (out of his own stupid book) about the alleged cheapness. And as fate usually works it, it was Agassi who really came off looking the cheapest of them all.

It was amazing how Agassi’s massive insecurity was out of control to the extent he managed to suck the joy right out of a stadium of 15,000 people. Believe me when I tell you – the air among the live audience was palpably disconcerted – and I’m being charitable. We came for a cause and to see some great players have some great fun. We effectively got robbed by Agassi’s childishness. In fact Agassi should have Indian Wells refund everyones money and cover the cost of their tickets out of his own pocket. I said it before and now know it to be true after last night: Agassi is nothing more then a Spotlight Hungry Media Whore who’s more and more desperate to be “relevant”. And apparently at any cost. He was, is and will forever be an asshole.

To end this on a note of good cheer, I wholly compliment Sampras (who was justified in trying to bean Agassi in the head), Federer and notably Nadal (hard to be gracious when your doubles partner is an asshole LOL). for their classy comportment (Ben – THESE three represent what Class really looks like). But more than anyone there last night who deserves sustained applause: Martina Navratilova. That she was able to get back at lot of those serves (especially off her forehand side) at age 50, and that many of her volleys are as sweet now as they were 30 years ago is simply amazing. She is truly an amazing athlete.


Deborah Says:

I have to agree that Andre crossed the line. Unfortunately, Pete just doesn’t have the wit to handle it without either trying to go physical or getting too serious about the match. The big difference in this one and the one in Australia is that Roger was the leader in the first “Hit” and he just set a better tone. In the one last night, he deferred to Pete and Andre and Andre went too far. If there was ever an example of the class of Roger Federer, it was last night. I accept that Nadal plays his part in keeping the rivalry one to admire but due to his lack of English skills, how they are perceived in most of the tennis world is on Roger’s racquet so to speak. Hats off to Tracey Austin for pointing out how much better Roger and Nadal are for tennis and how seriously they take their roles at the top of the sport.


jawad Says:

I wrote a very similiar post on my blog. I couldn’t believe Agassi said what he said. It was hard to watch the remainder of the match.
He should feel like an ass today and apologize to Pete. I think thats the last time we see Andre and Pete at the same charity event or in the same room for that matter.


jack Says:

I think talking about tipping habits is less rude than imitating someone’s walk. Sampras then escalated matters by attempting to hit Agassi with a serve. Agassi was the only player of the eight that had any energy, he certainly has a big ego but delivered value for money last night with a 104mph forehand.
Also, what the hell was with the ridiculous Justin Gimelstob commenting during the pre-match interview with Nadal on Rafa having no kids? JG’s commentary is always in error on technical issues like stroke production or stringing, but this ranked with his Fox starlet interview during an Indian Wells match as inappropriate.


O-Kerr Says:

Ben, you are doing pretty good job. “He said, she said ad infinitum. I am disappointed.” But Betty White could do better than you.
You forgot to evaluate the occasion: Charity for Haiti. The part 2 already made more than 5 times than the part 1 (Australia), $200K to more than $1 million. The occasion was not about Pete’s ego and how everyone should work toward protecting and cementing it further.
As for the side fun, the event without Andre and Roger’s exchange would be totally tasteless. As somebody said elsewhere Sampras is no fun exho material. I concur. That’s just me.


contador Says:

voicdmale1

Appreciate your description of the event, as it happened. Lucky you, to be there!

How unfortunate agassi hasn’t the presence of mind to recognize a boundary between entertaining and embarrassing/tasteless . poor steffi.

but, since i didn’t get to actually SEE the event, I’m going by written reviews the morning after, and most are saying agassi went overboard; but what else is new.

O-Kerr- the good news is how much money was raised for Haitii. wow!

and btw, i liked the post you wrote yesterday, hilarious! not that i’ll admit how many times i read your part (1) before i ‘got’ it. lol… balls odometer….hahahhaaa

cilic is my favorite of the new giant class. he doesn’t play or move like a 6’6′er. very agile, marin and going to be a force, though i can’t pick him to win IW this year.

and to me it wasn’t clear to whom you were addressing part (2). i haven’t been posting here long enough to know, at any rate.

cheers. and back to the order of play today? who plays first?


sanj Says:

Andre Agassi is a classless, self-aggrandizing ass.

The whole Pete tipping story was more illustrative of Agassi than Sampras : A story based on hearsay, one that cannot be disproved, and a complete character assassination, revealed to the world in a book meant to further the “cult of Agassi.”

What Pete did was exaggerate a well-known trait of the pigeon; what Agassi did was to reiterate a story that he brought into public existence to show what a spiteful little B*tchh is.


contador Says:

oh and madmax!

don’t you wish rog and rafa always had to wear microphones, espsecially if they had no idea they were bugged!

i love hearing what roger is thinking/ commenting.

andre has such an annoying voice.

and i’m sure you read on GTT what freaky frites wrote about the “stink bomb” andre dropped. great pics too.

action today at IW has me excited for most matches and for EG…though i’m convincing myself it doesn’t matter, i like mrs. davy too much to ever really hope for kolya to lose. right. i’m lying.

and nolee will have no trouble with fish….Jane. ajde!


NELTA Says:

I didn’t see the match last night, but just watched the clip. I cringed when Agassi said to Pete “It’s better than being a valet driver and see you pulling up” Sampras has too much class, but he should have said the following to Andre “Why are you so full of energy tonight? Did you take a hit of meth in the locker room?


CJ Says:

Making fun of Agassi for the way he walks (he’s pigeon-toed due to a spinal condition he’s had since he was a child), something he is not able to help, is far more offensive than ribbing someone (Sampras) about their tipping habits! I have witnessed first hand Sampras’s abuse of ball kids and turning away young children for autographs… Class is simply not in this man’s makeup. Aggasi’s comment was made in good fun, much in the same way most guys would tease their friends about various things. Sampras has shown us time and time again that he is simply just devoid of any social skills or tact. Not ripping him…these are just the facts.


Max Says:

I think Agassi was scared after the bullet serve by Sampras which targeted him


CSL Says:

Good to know i wasn’t the only uncomfortable one watching this event! First off Roger & Rafa kudos to you as your class showed through yet again. I’ve always favored Sampras over Agassi and this episode proved why. Too bad Andre’s overbearing personality ruined a potential great night to be.


Nina Says:

As usually people are overreacting. Yeah, it was awkward out there but it was more Pete’s fault than Agassi’s. He started it with the impersonations and then didn’t like what he saw and started acting hurt and weird. That is what made it awkward. Not Agassi’s comments, as classless as they can be. If Pete had ignored them instead of getting mad then the air would have cleared up immediately. For those criticizing Agassi, he was the only one entertaining the audience with his witty jokes even if he took it a bit too far. Roger was good too. Nadal was a little subdued, he was more fun at the Australian charity event. But in the end Pete told Andre “I just love you man, no hard feelings”. So I think they moved on, why can’t the rest of you?


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Wow, what a classless baby. After my wife and I read Agassi’s book our new term for a spoiled crybaby is Andre Agassi. You could (and I did) come away with SOME sympathy for Andre from his book, but last night really set the record straight of just what a loser he really is.
I watched the first while of the match but I turned it off before this incident because Agassi’s running mouth was so annoying. Frankly, Navratilova played the same role in the previous match and was similarly annoying, but she never crossed the line like Andre did.


sar Says:

Having a great time here. Nights are cold. Great Nole weather. At practice yesterday a.m. saw Tipsy hitting with Nadal, Azarenka, Kuznetsova, Baggy.Saw some good matches, Dementieva, Sharapova, Wozniacki, Tips and Troicki, Nalbandian. Went to tennis warehouse and saw Ivanovic sign autographs. She really is beautiful in person without makeup. Wow, that Hit for Haiti was fun and wild. They were passing around buckets for donations. I was not a fan of Agassi before but I REALLY am not a fan now. What an ass. Heard that the weekend is completely sold out. Matches I will see today are JJ, Ana, Clijsters, Nadal and Nole. Looks great outside and we are leaving the hotel.


J Says:

So what have we learned following this fiasco?

1. Agassi is a bitter, attention-seeking loudmouth who does not know when to shut up.
2. Sampras is uptight and humorless and had no business at this exhibition match.
3. Roger and Rafa are class acts and their rivalvry, intense but always respectful, is to be admired.

The line-up should have been Federer, Nadal, Roddick and Blake. The ladies match was very boring too and should have included some of the younger current players like Sharapova and Clijsters and not Graf and Davenport.


Kimmi Says:

Contador..hey! great matches today indeed. at last I can watch a live match. :) Opening up is my hot sauce Verdasco. can’t wait!


Joe Z Says:

I’m a huge Agassi fan but… he lost his cool last night. The banter was entertaining and appropriate until he hit Pete with a low blow.

You see, Pete is not the sharpest knife in the block. He’d been struggling to find some way to join in the fun, and probably planned his little Agassi walk for several minutes. And Agassi knows this, which is why he doesn’t hold much respect for Pete. However, Agassi wrongly introduced unnecessary tension to a light-hearted “miked-up” game of doubles. The crowd was probably squirming (my wife and were squirming while watching it on TV), and Pete was not a happy camper. It must be tough when you’re not clever enough to think of a quick-and-witty comeback. Maybe Pete should’ve read more than 2 books in his lifetime.

Oh well. I’ll bet that later in the night, Steffi slapped Andre upside the head for his comments. First the one about her “performance”, then for his low-blow to Pete.


JH Says:

Agassi is a loser and a hypocrite. How ironic that in the pre-match interview he put so much heart into his words for the cause and then proceeds to ruin the event.
Federer seemed to take it all in stride, but you could tell that Pete and Rafa wished he would just shut his fat trap. He acted as if he was more interested in trying out his nickel and dime comedy routine at the other three players’ expense than actually playing for the cause. Sure Pete lost his temper, but only after Andre took an incredibly cheap shot. Once again Federer and Nadal showed that they are two of the classiest competitors in the sports world.


DRIDER Says:

I was a huge fan of Andre…he could do no wrong…until last night. I agree that he sucked the life right out of the stadium. The whole mood changed after his childish behavior. Pete did a great impersonation of a very public action. Much like Novak did with Sharapova and Nadal. Andre attacks back with a very private action. Who gives him the right to mention that anyway in a book that is about Andre, not Sampras?


Samprazzz Says:

I’m a Sampras fan, but Sampras is the one that didn’t handle it properly. He’s the suck. So what? You didn’t tip a valet driver? Why is that such an penultimate insult?
Agassi is an open book, he’s got no class. We all know that.
Notice Federer’s reaction when Agassi makes fun of Sampras: he’s laughing. Clearly, up until Sampras decided to play the wounded suck, nobody thought there was a big problem.
Sampras just didn’t have a comback.


Peter Says:

What people are forgetting here is that Sampras has already publically said he was “disappointed” by the tipping story in the book and wanted to “talk about it man to man” with Agassi. So clearly, Agassi knew Sampras was bothered by it.

Also, for those posting that say Sampras started it with the walk impersonatin- Sampras had done this same bit with Agassi at another charity event a year ago- and Agassi responded with good humor by pretending to be robotic and going through Sampra’s serve style.. They had a great time with it and clearly was in fun. It looked to have been a bit they had worked out beforehand.

So clearly, when Sampras went back to the same joke, and Agassi- instead of responding with his lighthearted impersonation- went to a personal place that he already knows Sampras was bothered by- Agassi crossed the line.

Sampras doesn’t have much wit- and you could tell early in the match- he was trying to think of comebacks to some of the lighthearted barbs from Agassi and just couldn’t think of anything. So he finally went to something he thought would be funny and thought he knew the response and Agassi backstabbed him.

I am a bigger Agassi fan than Sampras- always wanted Agassi to beat him, but I was incredibly disappointed in him.. It could be excused if it was just Agassi trying so hard to entertain and he just made a mistake, but with the backstory of events known, Agassi knew exactly what he was doing.


Texastennis Says:

Most people are not saying Agassi was classless – most journalists’ reports are very tempered. If you google H for H news,you’ll see that … You’re talking about a much more specific group than that ie rabid tennis fans who write on tennis message boards… Not surprisingly a passionate and often very partisan group.

Weirthem (cnsi) twittered it was a joke at humor that didn’t work when he said something without thinking (and compared it to another AA incident when he won a watch)

as does this piece by a blogger:

http://www.tennisgrandstand.com/archives/6083

They were miked. They’re supposed to talk. It was for entertainment. The women’s match was super dull in part because of little talking and Navratilova has nothing to say when she does talk.

Nadal told Agassi to slow play down, not chattering down. The mood of the crowd for the men’s match was instantly lifted with Agassi taking up the challenge of you know … doing the
entertaining.

As several people have noted, this isn’t Pete’s natural habitat and that also showed last night – he was at sea with the format and he escalated in a way that was really inappropriate.

But too much blowing this up in to a major deal when it wasn’t. Pete said at the end he loves Agassi and gave him a big hug. He knew he had played his part in it. They’re two very different guys – we’ve had 25 years of watching that. They’re used to it…

The worst part about the internet is this constant blowing up of tiny issues into dramas.


Joe Z Says:

To Peter:

Spot on. Agassi had to know that his “bad-tipper joke” would create/elevate the tension.

It seemed like Andre was goading Pete from the git-go and I’m not sure why. He often timed his comments just as Pete was about to swing, which is just the type of thing that unnerves a robot like Sampras. Also obvious that Andre loved to see how flat Pete’s game was (although Pete finally woke up after hitting that run-around forehand return winner).

All said, I bet Andre woke up this morning feeling like an ass, and wishing he could take back that one low blow.


contador Says:

ooweee, Kimmi! are you watching?

matches are starting….your tobasco is on court. heart rate >>up

simon v dabul….i’ve been missing gilles; hoping his knee is better. hate to think we saw his best already.


Kimmi Says:

hey contador, I am watching. delgado..who is delgado. I don’t think me and Hot sauce should worry too much. Just playing steady is what matters.

Gulbis V davy…tough one. mrs davy should inspire!


Mela Says:

“I think talking about tipping habits is less rude than imitating someone’s walk. ”

I couldn’t DISAGREE more with you jack; everyone imitaties each other’s tennis style; watch any exho or charity match it’s the standard thing…but to take it to the personal level and claim someone is tight that’s just personal!

I think andre will look back at this moment and think ‘why couldn’t i just shut-the-fuck-up?’


Rus Says:

Oh well, why don’t we just relax. Everybody did wrong things in life. The difference is that Andre just admitted it for whatever reason. We tend to hold athletes to a higher standard and make them role models but they make mistakes just like all of us do all the time.
If it was not for the baldy and a bit from Fed to be there would be like watching the paint dry. As for Sampras, he was phenomenal with the racket, but the sense of humor (read = smarts) and charisma are certainly not his forte. Even the pigeon walk attempt looked contrived imho. Then he tried to further provoke Agassi right after with “Say smth now!” twice in his face. Obviously, Agassi with his ego and quick wit is not somebody you want to bully around. Not able to dish it out verbally – make yourself even more miserable and hit him with a ball. The real class act of the night.
Maybe Agassi pushed the wrong button given the occasion but i thought he was brilliant otherwise and can be excused for making this otherwise dull spectacle watchable. He must be really fun to be around with – Steffi is one lucky lady.


Kimmi Says:

News flash! (Skeezer – btw, I am not hired by your WTF! network)

Troicki winner after one game only. Pablo Cuevas retired injured!

aaaarg!..contador..maybe we should now worry about delgado..2nd break after 5 games, it getting a little uncomfortable.)


madmax Says:

well, ben,

i finally saw the recording of H4H, and do you know UK TV (cowards that they are), deleted the whole andre/agassi “feud”. Really, what was the TV thinking? So thanks for showing the link here. I do feel that it was a stab at joking that went wrong. I really dont think that andre meant it (am I being too soft?), and didnt pete start the pigeon walk FIRST, so how was agassi supposed to “better” that? I guess he could have had a tongue lolling around either side his chops, but a shame really, from what voicemale said (who was actually there and could really “feel” the tension), it seemed to be a lot more serious – just hope they can both move on from it.

but how GREAT was it to see roger and rafa. And does anyone think that Roger looks leaner than usual? To mean, he looks as if he has lost some weight/toned up even more – he just looks really, really, lean. such a handsome man.

I cant wait to watch him play. Its really been too long.

and when they hugged at the end – (Roge and Raf), I just love it.

SAR,

you are so, so lucky, actually being there. Please continue to give live accounts of what’s going on in “know”. Thanks Sar.


jane Says:

“Nadal told Agassi to slow play down, not chattering down.” That’s how I interpreted Nadal’s comment too – i.e., Agassi plays superfast and is known for it, whereas Rafa tends to take his time, and is known for it.

“too much blowing this up in to a major deal when it wasn’t”

I tend to agree. Yes, Agassi made a tactless choice by going with the tipping retort instead of keeping it to tennis; yes it created some tension for a couple of games thereafter. But in the end, things seemed to be fine, or fine enough, and the main thing, after all, is the money raised for those stricken by earthquake in Haiti. Right?

Agassi, no doubt, likes the limelight, but he also did bring a lot of life to the event I thought. He mocked himself with the pants and white legs joke, and he and Pete made fun of each other balding etc. So there were some positives to take away from the banter.


contador Says:

what? Kimmi, glad you are watching.

i have no coverage for this weekend but already set my dvr to record monday matches on FSN. i turned my back to get some chips, pablo reitres.

azarenka appears to be taking care of bammer, but one can never be certain…it’s the wta…anything goes. i was sad to see henin went out last night.

tight scores for nando and simon. i barely know dabul and don’t know delgado at all….have to look him up. dabul might be serving for the first set tight now. c’mon gilles! *frowns*

Kimmi, i have faith your man won’t go out to whoever he is. although, looking at stats i might guess it will be in 3, if nando doesn’t get moving, right?


jane Says:

sar, thanks for your update. It sounds like you’re having fun and seeing a lot of players and matches, not to mention practices. Good to hear the weather is cooperating too! ; )


contador Says:

yes….rog looks thin, madmax. i finally saw the same version apparently you did. the vid ends before said, “feud.”

simon is might break back. Kimmi, do you have one match only?

was wondering if gilles is still limping.


contador Says:

very jealous sar.

but love any bits of info, when you have time, ty.


TD (Tam) Says:

Why in the world was Justin Gimelslob there at all? He managed to make an awkward situation even more awkward! He’s too much of a boor and too tone deaf to mediate an uncomfortable situation besides.

I wish The Tennis Channel would be rid of this coackroach once and for all. He is truly offensive to look at and listen to.


sidmore Says:

I watched it and thought it was hilarious. Agassi was a little punchy that night and I’m sure if he had it to do again he would behave much better. Everyone gets a little punchy every now and again and it’s pretty funny if you have the capacity to laugh at life. They were like those couples who come to a party and fight- everyone else is uncomfortable but they hug it out and go home happy. And that is what Sampras and Agassi did at the end. Personally, I think Nadal deserved to be uncomfortable and ribbed. Agassi had nothing but generous comments about Nadal and his play but Nadal was a class A jerk in his comments when he found out Agassi did drugs while he was playing tennis. In that moment Nadal could have showed some compassion but he decided to be a self-righteous dodohead and Nadal made the rudest comments imaginable about Agassi and so did that butthole Federer SO I am glad Agassi made them feel crunchy. They deserved it. Now, I consider thing EVEN and I bet so does Agassi.


tosidmore Says:

Sidmore,

you’re a grade A imbecile: a methhead who lied and profited off of that lie, thus cheating others of earnings, deserves “compassion” from players who’ve done nothing but play with fairness and by the rules of the game? And they’re jerks because they did so?

You have as much class as your hillbilly hero; you two deserve each other. At least he as the millions to keep his lack of class from affecting him at a day-to-day level, but unless you do, i suggest you grow up.


donatella Says:

Agassi crossed the line. And that’s coming from a lifelong Agassi fan. I had a lot of fun listening to hos ongoing commentary/banter in the beginning but it did get a little tiresome after a certain point. ANd then he made the tipping and then the valet comment after Pete’s impersonation (which has been done numerous times, always earning huge laughs from both the audience and Agassi himself). I cringed when Agassi made those comments. Pete was visibly upset but trying not to show it. I’ve never been a fan of the guy’s personality but it’s something Andre should’ve respected. Even his attempt at joining in on the fun (agassi imitation) was a little awkward. Clearly, it was the only way he could think of to get in on the fun.

No matter what, they remain two of the best players ever. Did I lose respect for Agassi after last night? A little bit.


Andrew Miller Says:

Oh well. Agassi was one of my favorites. I guess there is no point now.

But it does serve a purpose. Sampras’ quiet manner and Agassi’s “overdoing it” make the current champions, if not the current set of players, look even better. The American players are competitive but harbor no ill will whatsoever. Behaving like McEnroe these days simply does not work anymore: bad boy tennis at the moment is unfashionable, and players that lose their cool lose matches.

In the top 20 there are no controversies. Players seem genuinely cordial. Federer presides basically like a prime minister and sets the tone, and other players, including Djokovic who had been a little wayward, follow suite.

The only favor Agassi apparently has done is make the current generation look even better, and may even make Sampras wish he were born in the 1980s rather than the 1970s.

Agassi was the most popular tennis player in the world and one of its best players and ball strikers. The 2005 match against James Blake is one of the best matches I’ve ever seen, and I will not think differently of it. He’ll still be one the best players of all time, but popular opinion is going to drop. It’s too bad, Agassi didn’t need to do this, and he did it to himself.

1 Federer, Roger (SUI) 11,350 0 19
2 Djokovic, Novak (SRB) 8,310 0 21
3 Nadal, Rafael (ESP) 7,440 0 18
4 Murray, Andy (GBR) 7,255 0 17
5 Del Potro, Juan Martin (ARG) 6,275 0 19
6 Davydenko, Nikolay (RUS) 5,290 0 27
7 Soderling, Robin (SWE) 3,905 0 27
8 Roddick, Andy (USA) 3,720 0 20
9 Cilic, Marin (CRO) 2,970 0 23
10 Gonzalez, Fernando (CHI) 2,925 0 20
11 Tsonga, Jo-Wilfried (FRA) 2,870 0 23
12 Verdasco, Fernando (ESP) 2,860 0 26
13 Youzhny, Mikhail (RUS) 2,235 0 29
14 Ferrero, Juan Carlos (ESP) 2,220 0 25
15 Monfils, Gael (FRA) 2,130 0 25
16 Ferrer, David (ESP) 2,125 0 26
17 Stepanek, Radek (CZE) 1,985 0 22
18 Haas, Tommy (GER) 1,830 0 19
19 Wawrinka, Stanislas (SUI) 1,765 0 21
20 Isner, John (USA)


Missyg Says:

@madmax- maybe you had to watch it or see the match in full, but things DEFINITELY got awkward and Agassi started it. Sampras is doing the best thing by playing it down- after all, he’s being labelled a cheap skate! You don’t want to be debating the validity of those comments (exactly what Gimbelstob did in the end!)

The match had some wonderful tennis moments, but overall was spoilt by Agassi’s odd behaviour: over dominating commentary- which kind of made everyone else a little more reserved, pressing play to the extent it was wearing out poor Rafa and then being a punk when Sampras did that superb imitation. That was damn fine acting from the otherwise dry-as Samp! Loved it. I fully expected Agassi to counter with the lolling tongue and swing service action- instead he took it below the belt. Samp just got punked at a charity event- who does that? As Ben points out, why was Agassi mad?

I’ll always like his tennis but Agassi just p’d me right off.


sidmore Says:

Sidmore,

you’re a grade A imbecile: a methhead who lied and profited off of that lie, thus cheating others of earnings, deserves “compassion” from players who’ve done nothing but play with fairness and by the rules of the game? And they’re jerks because they did so?

You have as much class as your hillbilly hero; you two deserve each other. At least he as the millions to keep his lack of class from affecting him at a day-to-day level, but unless you do, i suggest you grow up
____________________________________________

You call me a grade A imbecile and I need to GROW UP? I guess Agassi isn’t the only one who’s PUNCHY. You’re right- you have MUCH MORE CLASS. I wonder I didn’t notice it earlier. :-)


Voicemale1 Says:

Texastennis Says:

“Nadal told Agassi to slow play down, not chattering down. The mood of the crowd for the men’s match was instantly lifted with Agassi taking up the challenge of you know … doing the
entertaining.”

- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - -

This makes no sense at all and is just pure wishful thinking. Agassi’s response to Nadal’s comment of “Stop a little bit” was exactly about his diarrhea of the mouth. Agassi’s reply to Nadal was: “What??….They (Sampras – Federer) can’t deal with a microphone?”. It had nothing at all to do with time of play. Nadal was the first one onto the fact that Agassi’s unrelenting stupidity had worn out it’s welcome. Yeah, it’s possible to entertain. Spotlight Whore Agassi just felt the babbale incessantly and give no air time to anyone else. It was clear he wanted showcase himself over the illustrious company he was keeping – which is throughly consistent with his megalomania. Observe that when each player was announced onto the court, all came out and simply waved and went to the chairs on the sideline. This wasn’t sufficient for the Vegas Prima Donna. He had to walk to the middle of the court and do his own 4-corner bows and kisses to the crowd. Despite the fact that each of them received huge ovations, Agassi really did believe this was HIS show. What an asshole.

And sitting in the stands, where you think the audience was “uplifted” is a mystery. It sure didn’t happen where we were sitting. People where we sat were wondering if some kind of bad blood broke out, and nobody near us thought it was funny.

Agassi is a megalomaniac and always has been. It’s taken the retirement to being his fears of his own irrelevance to full view.


smart7 Says:

Im sure we’ve all seen Djokovic do his awesome impersonations of various players (if not search on Youtube for it,its worth it) and damn they’re funny, right? BUT the difference arises between someone impersonating Nadal and how he wears his shorts shorts or someone’s pigeon toed walk which is part of a back problem from childhood. Thats not a choice behaviour. Thats my 5 cents. All Legends in their own right.


Diane Says:

Who is this Agassi who has been so classy in the last decade? The Agassi I’ve seen is narcissism on legs.


Dan Martin Says:

Agassi is an idiot. I thought he had grown up a lot . However, his behavior toward Kucera at the Open in 98 was a low point for me with Andre. This was the same sort of bush league stuff. He is insecure. His issues are his and he did not need to drag down an event. Voicemail hit the nail on the head. He killed the event’s atmosphere by being a prick. I think Andre has a lot of good aspects and has done a lot of good things with his fame and fortune, but on a tennis court he is still insecure. Fed, Pete and Nadal will all go down as being more historically significant and a lot of that will be due to Andre’s insecurity leading him to tank, waste his talent with bad diet in the early 90′s and drugs in the mid 90′s. He only started to play well when his physical attributes began to decline because a loss could be blamed on something other than him choking. I don’t know the pressure of being so talented at something that most failures lie squarely on my own shoulders, but Pete and Roger do and they handled that stress much better than Andre. Off the court he has done good things, but sorry between the lines at least he is still a coward.


donatella Says:

smart7: BUT the difference arises between someone impersonating Nadal and how he wears his shorts shorts or someone’s pigeon toed walk which is part of a back problem from childhood. Thats not a choice behaviour.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

With all due respect, that would’ve been a valid point if it hadn’t been done before and if Andre hadn’t reacted with anything but laughter and good-natured retaliation (via return imitation) the previous times it’s been done. Being as frank and outspoken as he is, if it’s something that offended him, I’m sure he would’ve said something about it before.


richard Says:

Smart7: you obviously don’t have a lot of experience in tennis. Players imitating each other has been exo fodder for decades now. Djokovic is the latest to do it a lot, and his aren’t particularly funny or good. Bjorkman was the master of doing authentic impersonations. However, Roddick, Agassi, Mcenroe, and countless others have done imitations of each other and may others. INCLUDING Agassi’s walk. Mcenroe in particular has done this in just about every exhibition with Andre (hundreds), and Agassi has responded with impersonations of him. The same has happened between Sampras and Agassi before.

Agassi showed how little class, and how bitter he is, by including a hearsay story about ONE incident with Sampras for no plausible motivation other than to get a shot in. Even Agassi’s talented ghost writer could not figure out a way to get that story into the narrative in a smooth manner. A story in which Agassi and Gilbert were acting like gossipy 15 yr olds in the fist place (giggle giggle). Nor have we ever heard Sampras’ side of the story, because he rightfully took the high road, and realized it wasn’t even worth responding to.

Doing TENNIS related imitations is funny for the fans, and appropriate in exo’s….what Agassi did was classless slander.

PS. I see texastennis is here to defend Andre again. She is QUITE an ardent fan, despite knowing very little about Agassi! She did however really like the book!


Dan Martin Says:

Jimmy Connors was a jerk to me and my dad vs. Pat Etcheberry is a “spitting Chilean”

Thomas Muster played with my hair vs. I spit on an umpire during the 1990 U.S. Open in my match vs. Korda

Boris Becker got Germany to laugh at me during a Davis Cup tie/Boris Becker flirted with my girlfriend vs. I mocked Karol Kucera and made people laugh at him at the Open

Pete Sampras imitated me vs. I acted like a fool at a charity match

Maybe Sampras is a bad tipper, Becker was a nasty jerk on court, Connors was a jerk and Etcheberry spits when he speaks English, but at least all of them seem to be comfortable enough in their own skin.

Agassi can dish it out, but never seems to fully accept responsibility for the stuff he pulled at Indianapolis one year, spitting on an ump in 1990, mocking Kucera in 98, for rifling a ball at a lines woman at Wimbledon in 2001 and implying she needed more sex to be less uptight… Agassi is every bit as vulgar as Connors or as acidic as Lendl or Sampras could be, but will never admit to that. That is the sad thing about him.


Sammy Says:

I saw the whole thing live on TV and thought it was an unnecessarily off-key remark from Andre. Having said that, the main reason it became an awkward “incident” is because of Sampras’s super uptight nature and his inability to brush off digs against him or hide his embarrassment. I mean, if you were just making fun of what is a congenital deformity that your life-long rival has, you should be able to brush off his retort.

This makes you appreciate how much more class and maturity Nadal and Federer have (despite their much younger ages). They are simply more balanced human beings, without the neuroses/baggage that both Andre and Sampras have.


Bjorn Borg Says:

Agassi just shows what a twisted character he is. Classless, annoying and certainly jealous of sampras success in their rivarly. I personally thought that he was different than the punk he used to be early in his career but apparently not. He is very lucky to have the life he has being such a low , cheap and irritating person.

Fed, Nadal and sampras are true champions. I personally also wished that in their early days Becker could have kicked his ass physically.


quark Says:

Oh come now, everyone does imitations. After the Rome Final last year, Djoker was asked to do an imitation of Nadal, while standing right next to him. Nadal even pulled away the runner-up trophy from Djoker, to encourage him. Djoker most certainly included the butt-picking, and Nadal just laughed. He displayed a lot more class about it than Agassi did last night. And did everyone miss Roger telling Agassi to “be nice to your partner” early on, after Agassi criticized something Nadal did?

Sampras was completely within his rights to perform an imitation of Agassi, which was spot-on and quite funny. Agassi clearly went over the line by introducing the tipping story, which had nothing whatsoever to do with tennis. It was an especially low blow in a charity event. It’s a pity that people are talking about Agassi’s behavior instead of some of the marvelous shots we saw, or about Haiti, but I guess Agassi wouldn’t have it any other way.

Why is Agassi mad at Sampras? Might have something to do with constantly getting his butt kicked by Pete at Wimbledon and especially at the US Open. People are also forgetting that rivalries in the current Roger era of tennis are unusually friendly. Rivalries in the 90s were less friendly, and in the 80s they got downright nasty.

The original Hit for Haiti organized by Roger in Australia was a lot more fun. Why didn’t we see the ladies mix with the gentlemen again? I’d have loved to see Navratilova and Roger on the same side of the net.


john_whip Says:

People love to see animosity between competitors. The Vonn-Mancuso deal added to the Winter Olympics story line. Ali-Frazier and McEnroe-Lendl are other examples of rivalry animosity that makes for good drama.


Anil Sahai Says:

I had travelled from all the way San Jose to see this charity event with my son, and as Ben points out, I was totally disappointed with Agassi’s behavior on court. He was NOT funny. What a jerk is Agassi. I also felt sorry for Federer and Nadal for being put into such an uncomfortable situation.

I wish Sampras had told him that his behavior was consistent with someone who used drugs and then lied to win matches. But Sampras knew better!

What a waste of $300 trip for me.


Yummy Says:

Agassi can dish it out, but never seems to fully accept responsibility for the stuff he pulled at Indianapolis one year, spitting on an ump in 1990, mocking Kucera in 98, for rifling a ball at a lines woman at Wimbledon in 2001 and implying she needed more sex to be less uptight… Agassi is every bit as vulgar as Connors or as acidic as Lendl or Sampras could be, but will never admit to that. That is the sad thing about him.
__________________________________________

WOW, Agassi did all of that! I like him even MORE. LOL! If pro tennis players were books, you would have an endless array that would put you straight to SLEEP whereas Agassi is a pageturner. Agassi is good; he is bad; he is complicated; he is passionate; he is petty and all wrapped into one just makes an incredibly sexy package. He has an edge that ALL alpha males should have. I totally get why Steffi married him!


skeezerweezer Says:

Re: Agassi

My Take.

Agassi has ( had ) a huge fan base globally, and by the end of his career no matter what posters say up here he was extremely popular. In the end nobody but a few were obsessed with his antics or lifestlye. It was forgotten.

Shoot, he was dating Brooke Shields, hanging with Barbra Streisand, Changing the tennis fashion world, married a tennis hottie and mutiple GS winner and one of the best women ever, started a well respected foundation and school.

I will never forget that great ending he had at the US Open among a full house of loving fans standing in unison.

They did a glorious bio tribute to him on the Tennis Channel just a year or two ago.

So, WTF happened?

1) The Book.

Why did he need to write that stuff? Even if he did it? Dude, I would get my closest tennis buds and Fam together and confess to them, not the public. Why? And where is it gonna get you to trash the other Pros you played with?
See a therapist.

2) IW Hit for Haiti

Again, I go back to “the Book”. If he didn’t publish that, he probably never would have said that remark……..I guess? Maybe I hope?

In a small defense of Agassi they were all given mikes so the organizers did want them to “entertain”, “trash talk in fun, etc”.
BUT:
I guess they should of just given out 3 mikes, instead of 4.

To me, it’s a sad story that could have been avoided and saved his legacy. He is rich…doesn’t the man have a PR person?

Now…well..just look at these posts.

What can I say, his career is tainted….


Sammy Says:

I don’t want to come across as an Agassi defender since I never was a fan, but I do believe that Sampras’s imitation of him got to him probably more than it should have since it was an imitation of his deformity (not to be confused with Djokovic’s imitations, which are imitations of other players’ mannerisms). Agassi has shown, especially after the release of his book, that he has a fragile ego, and a situation such as that can hit a raw nerve, which it apparently did and provoked the disproportionate retort.

At any rate, a more level-headed person wouldn’t have been terribly offended either by Sampras’s imitation or by Agassi’s retort, especially considering the occasion they were there for, which should make them rise above such petty concerns. Again, both Sampras and Agassi should take a page from Nadal’s/Federer’s book on how not to let sporting rivalry descend to personal bickering!


Anna Says:

I couldn’t believe the way both these guys let their behavior escalate into an embarrassment.
All of a sudden their little tit for tat became more important than the event. I was mostly disappointed in Andre because he’s always been a favorite and I was hoping he would just be the bigger person and find a way to defuse the situation. It’s hard to blame Pete much because he’s just like a deer in headlights. I was hoping to see the best of both of them and instead I got the opposite.


Anna Says:

One other thing, while Roger is an incredible ambassador for tennis, Rafa goes out on the court for these charity events basically defenseless because he’s not a fluent english speaker, but he mixes it up when he can, he’s not afraid to laugh at himself and he seems to enjoy taking part. I think that goes a long way toward ambassadorship as well.


Andrew Miller Says:

Agassi clearly took it too far. He will have to deal with the consequences.


skeezerweezer Says:

Anna,

Agreed. I think we all have to remember that Rafa /Fed are in the present, representing the here and now, and do it well. It was cool of you to point out Rafa’s language issue, despite that, he was cordial and smiling.

People are easy to forget however Sampras / Agassi during their time pretty much held up the sport. They were doing commercials together, etc. Now they are out, older, have issues, and it is unfortunate they had to bring them out in public in a “charity event”. I don’t think Sampras should get a free pass either after watching it again as he could have ignored it and taken a higher road. BUT, that said, they had mikes on, and I am sure were told to “entertain”….go figure


Fot Says:

I enjoyed the Hit in Australian more as well. But the one last night had it’s moments.

I don’t know why, but I was a little bored by the women’s match. Only Martina was trying to ‘spice’ it up a little but the other 3 didn’t cooperate.

The men’s match was more entertaining. That one point where Rafa and Agassi bombarded Roger’s volleys and he kept getting them back earned a well deserved standing ovation. To me, that was the point of the match.

I think the real difference between the one in AO and this one last night was the players at the AO were NOT serious in their tennis. They were pushing the ball at half-pace, trying to entertain the crowd. The players last night (particiularly Agassi and Pete) were trying to ‘crush’ the ball and play “regular” tennis. This was an Exho! It should not have been so serious.

I do give agassi credit for being lively and I give Roger credit for hanging in there with him because otherwise they would have had ‘silent’ from the mikes! Pete and Nadal (for different reasons) were just too silent but I understand that’s not their style. I was truly enjoying the banter between Agassi and Roger UNTIL that moment.

Now whether it was on purpose, accidental, or whatever…that moment where it got a little personal between Pete and Andre made ME (at home) feel uncomfortable. I guess it’s because I knew what Agassi had said in the book about Pete and I knew that Pete didn’t like it. So I had the ‘background’ on this and I was definitely uncomfortable watching the rest of the match.

I truly felt for Roger (because I’m his fan) because during the changeovers after that incident, I felt like Roger didn’t know how to react to Pete. I could tell Pete was truly upset and it seemed like Roger didn’t know whether to try to get pete in a better mood or leave it alone.

I also blame Justin for keeping it up and I was upset that he didn’t interview Roger and Nadal after the match!

Anyway….it was for a good cause. They did raise a lot of money and for that – it was a success. Maybe people now will see what we truly have with the best players today. They fight well on court with their tennis rackets, but they remain civil off court.


Peter Says:

Sammy, I don’t think you realize, as others have recounted on here, that Sampras’ impersonation of the Agassi walk is something he and Agassi have done and played with at several previous charity events. It was a little “act” that they had worked out before, and Andres part was to mimic Sampras service motion and tounge wagging.. So when Agassi kept picking on him to do something, Sampras did his part of their act, but Agassi backstabbed him and went to the gutter. He already knew Sampras was mad about the tipper story, but for some reason, Agassi went there. Agassi wasn’t offended because Sampras was making fun of a deformity.. he simply wanted to attack Sampras.. maybe he has a reason for the bad blood, but I thought it terrible…


Dan Says:

I’ve met both guys while working at the us open years ago and i can tell you andre was always a decent guy and pete was a dick. i can remember one time being shoved in the back by pete with his racket, we were stuck in a crowded hallway one afternoon and pete couldn’t be bothered by that…so he jammed a racket in my back on his way into the players locker room…clearly remember that. and he wasn’t playing that day..so i don’t wanna hear he had a match to get to


CrazyStuff Says:

No one asked Andre to force things. Without Andre Agassi in Australia the first version of the exhibition was a great hit. He acted like a “prima donna” with no class. If we had let the match to progress it would have been interesting without the sense less banter and comments he made through out the match. No body asked him to be the hero/cheer leader here. He is just an egotistical meth taking wig wearing prima donna. The match would still be interesting without his trash talks. I would strongly disagree if people say they went to see trash talking. People and Tv audience wanted to see the incredible serve (Pete), great returns (agassi), awesome forehands (Fed) and heavy top spin shots (Nadal) and not to be entertained by the banter.


Joe Says:

Andre seems to try too hard to be funny, liked by others, and the center of attention. Too bad this character flaw got the best of him and he stuck his foot in his mouth, as many people in similar social situations do. Really looked like how an alcoholic, or other addict, acts at times when under some kind of social stress. Oh well, another life lesson…maybe material for another book. Wonder how often this happens in his personal life…feel sorry for those close to him who see this kind of stuff on a regular basis. By the way, I guess the context for Andre’s joking with Pete is from Andre’s book and about Andre and Brad betting on what kind of tipper Pete is…how obnoxious and rude is this?! And to write it in his book? Again, this tells you more about Andre’s character than anything else.


CrazyStuff Says:

And what is the advertisement about Longines. The theme is “Learn to give respect, responsibility, sharing and giving a bit of your time”. Agassi didn’t do any of it in last night exhbition. He is a preacher and doesn’t parctice. Its a shame. The whole foundation and charity thing is a mask to hide his frail and egotistic personality. Poor kids, they may have learned a thing or two after watching last night’s match.


guy Says:

amazing people still cling to their fantasy that agassi is a great human being. didn’t he clear that up in the book? and even without that, go watch the video of him abusing a lines woman. he’s all class.


RR Says:

First of all, ANY comments about Sampras starting it by impersonating Agassi’s pigeon-strut are just downright ludicrous.

I’m guessing that those that believe so have only watched that particlar incident and not the whole exho from the very start. Agassi was hopped up from the get-go, clearly needing to show he had some skills. He seemed to need to prove a point from the very beginning, and though he laced his competitiveness with humour, it was obvious HE was the one taking it more seriously than anyone else. He wanted to feel like he belonged, tennis-wise, on the same court as the other three men, and he did. However, in events like these character counts for a LOT, and of the four men, only three were thorough gentlemen. Agassi was NOT one of them.

He was getting on everyone’s nerves, and the crowd was even murmuring about how much he was yakking on and on, giving nobody else space to either play or talk. He even talked during points. And YES, Rafa did ask him to quiet down a bit, NOT simply to slow down. You don’t ask your partner to slow down because in tennis, you play according to the pace of the server. If he wanted to ask someone to slow down, it would have been Pete or Rog. He was clearly asking Agassi to cool off, and if you listened closely enough, Roger “agrees” with him immediately after Nadal said so. Andre’s reply about Roger and Pete not being able to play with microphones means he knew very well what Nadal meant by, “Andre, stop it please, a little bit.”

Agassi was pushing everyone’s buttons. He told Nadal, “You look a lot faster on TV,” to which Roger said, half-jokingly and half-seriously, “Be nice to your partner Andre.”

It all escalated to the point where the confrontation occurred. Roger/Pete fell behind 4-2, and Pete, who until then wasn’t playing too seriously, decided he’d try and get them back into it with some good play and firm volleys, at which point Andre told him to lighten up. THAT led to the impersonation.

As for the impersonation, just so those that think it insulted Andre (since it is a deformity) know; Pete has done that at previous exhos as well, AGAINST Andre, and Andre even laughed it off, imitating Pete’s double-fist pump while serving and a little bit of tongue-wagging. It’s what Pete expected Andre to reply with since they’d done it before, which is why he said, “Say something, say something.” Andre then said, “Now I wanna impersonate you,” and Pete cordially said, “OK,” clearly expecting nothing more than an imitation in riposte. Instead, Andre got dirty with it. Shameless. Tasteless. Dirty.

Also, Roddick has imitated that strut of Agassi’s at an exho as well, and Andre laughed it off at the time. Here, he was just being mean, and was almost itching for a fight.

What’s all this nonsense about Pete not being quick-witted enough? He didn’t sign up for this to engage in an asinine verbal duel with an overgrown baby. He came there to play.

Pete may not bring humour, but he brings stature to an event of this nature. Give me that any day of the week over Andre’s “humour”. Humour at another person’s expense is the lowest form of it. It’s also the easiest way to get a few laughs.

Andre has issues and demons he hasn’t yet banished. I just hope Steffi and the kids don’t suffer for it.

Pete was a thorough gentleman afterward, even saying he loved Andre, which personally, I feel he shouldn’t have said. Why the hell should he end up looking like the bad guy after what that baby pulled?

You could tell how much Roger was upset by the whole thing at the end, and in the photos at the end he looks ashen-faced and tried to be as close to Pete as possible and as far away from Andre as possible. This was supposed to be a fun event for a noble cause and it turned into Agassi’s cry-baby coming-out. Additionally, it has been reported by some close to Federer that after the event he mentioned that he was extremely unhappy with the way Andre behaved. THAT, more than anything else, tells us who the idiot was in all this.

Like I said initially, there were four gentlemen on court, and Andre wasn’t one of them.


Greg Says:

I saw the match in person last night and, until the tipping comment, the crowd was loving the banter from Agassi. Without the mics, the match may have been interesting, but with it was a helluva good time. And without Agassi’s energy the match would have been as flat as the women’s.

As for the others, Roger did his best to goof around and was reasonably successful (His “when are you going to take off the pants, Andre” comment was great!). I think the language barrier kept Nadal mostly quiet. But Pete clearly was not in his element and was unable to let his guard down and be goofy.

I’m a fan of both Agassi and Sampras, so I’m not taking sides at all. But when, after 20 mins of playing mute, Pete decides to make fun of Andre’s walk, it seemed forced and a bit much (Mind you, I love to make fun of people that way, but how a person walks is more a part of who he is than his tipping habits. So it could very well be a huge source of insecurity for Andre). There was no ramping-up to it, just out-of-the-blue, heavy-handed teasing. When Andre responded with the “rabbit ears” (he told Pete “this is you” and pulled the pockets out of his pants) most didn’t get the joke. What actually made this seem like a nasty or cruel comment was Pete’s response: nothing! He basically clammed up. I think this is why the audience thought that Andre had hit a nerve. And the resulting exchange between them was awkward and the audience felt the strange tension.

In summary, I don’t think that Andre meant it to be a nasty dig and I don’t think Pete took it that way. The perceived tension was due to the disparate social personalities of the two and their inability to improvise together. They’re not Laurel & Hardy, Martin & Lewis or Lemmon & Matthau. Their attempt at a humorous exchange hit an awkward bump, but I don’t think the “Hit for Haiti” affair will affect how they feel about each other.


veritas1776 Says:

I have been an admirer of Agassi’s since his early days with the long hair and day-glow outfits, but that was then, this is now. As has been clearly stated many times in this discussion, he visibly sucked the life, energy, joy, and gaiety out of the exhibition! There is no doubt about this. It was visible in the crowd, audible in the TV commentators’ statements, and felt very strongly at home. I have long been impressed with how he turned around his career, his life, with his fine marriage to a wonderful woman, his two children, his Foundation… But then he rips off his carefully built façade in a matter of minutes, revealing the real Agassi.

1. Here is an exercise. Look up the definition of Narcissistic Personality Disorder and you will see a photo of Agassi. Well, maybe not, but after reading the description of this disorder you will definitely think of him.

2. No one has commented on Agassi’s first personal attack on Sampras earlier in the match. Crossing the line with the “tip” gossip occurred later in the match.

Agassi stated that young people watching might not know who the “two bald guys are.” That got a bit of a laugh. Sampras replied that he had a bit more on top than Agassi, to which Agassi replied something like “we all know about that.” This got Sampras fuming, because he was literally being outed for having had some surgical replacement of hair. (Yes, photos of him a couple of years ago show much less hair in front than now, indicative of surgical intervention.)

Now this is a very personal matter to an essentially very shy personality as Sampras. Agassi, who once was very insecure about his baldness to the point of wearing a wig during his matches, knew in effect declaring to the world Sampras had hair replacement would be a swift punch to the gut.

Agassi followed this up by telling Sampras “shave it all off … you will find it is liberating.” In other words, stop doing what you are doing to fend off the balding.

3. At the end of the match Sampras attempted to smooth things over with Agassi with his saying “You know I only have love for you.,” This was not easy for the normally taciturn prideful, wounded Sampras to say in the first place, and Agassi knew this perfectly well. So Agassi took the occasion NOT to respond in any way to Sampras, showing no recognition of Sampras’ olive branch to Agassi. By Agassi avoiding any reply in kind to Sampras, by 100% ignoring Sampras attempt at an outreach to Agassi, Andre hit him again below the belt. Agassi’s quickly changing the subject to Haiti only made his hostility toward Sampras more evident. It didn’t fool anyone even half watching.

4. As has been stated before, Agassi is clearly still licking his emotional wounds from his numerous tennis match losses to Sampras. Agassi felt the need to inflict some private personal pain to his nemesis. Their head to head matches are 20:14, with Agassi on the short end. In their careers, Pete won 14 Grand Slams, Andre 8. Andre wasted away much of his career, Pete did not.

Some people will love Agassi no matter what. Some people excuse private personal attacks that cross the line as acceptable. Maybe in some places, but not at a fund raising charity event watched by hundreds of thousands. It demeans the game and the player. Rude, booring behavior might be funny in a comedy movie, but not here.

At the after match commentator discussion, no one wanted to talk about the big elephant sitting the center of the living room, the elephant that dropped its load in full view of everyone and stunk up the place that night.


lifelongtennisfan Says:

Everyone needs to tone down the Agassi-hating. Andre opened himself up for criticism ON PURPOSE. He was simply alluding to the ‘elephant in the room’ that the other players were afraid to address.

He was well aware of Rafa and Pete’s feelings about the recent book revelations, after all, it was only a few months ago that they stated their opinions.

So at a stale moment late in the match, and since no one else was bringing it up, Andre started talking about the book.

He began with self-deprecating remarks about his infamous hairpiece, drawing Pete in by also calling him bald (an obvious joke since Pete still has hair).

Then, after Pete’s weak “I have more hair than you” response, followed by the typical ‘Pete mocks Andre’s bow-legged walk’ routine, Andre went for the juicy stuff. He pulled his empty pockets inside-out and pretended he was Pete with only a dollar for the valet driver (another allusion to the book). It was actually quite funny. It wasn’t done out of hatred. He just wanted Pete to keep the banter going.

Unfortunately Pete isn’t that smart, so he couldn’t come up with a response. He just sat there like a lame duck for 15 LONG seconds and then, in true dumb-jock fashion, fired a serve straight at Andre’s head.

It was too bad. Had the banter continued, more people would’ve watched reruns, and more $$ would’ve been raised for Haiti thru text donations.


RR Says:

Yeah lifelongtennisfan. Because that’s what this was about right? Being able to see who could come up with the smartest comeback?

Agassi talks all the time. He never shuts up about anything because he thinks he understands things at a psychologically, even philosophically “deeper” level than most. It’s all rubbish. The guys is about as deep as a kid’s pool.

This was a charity even by tennis payers, not stand-up comics at a roast. You know what Agassi did? He was just being a bully; because he knew that he could get away with it because the others couldn’t come up with great replies. Roger isn’t the confrontational kind, Rafa barely understood what everyone was saying, and he knew he could out-duel Pete when it came to verbal volleys.

None of his attempts at humour against Sampras were funny. You can here the crowd CRINGING when he mentioned the valet driver. Yes, Sampras didn’t come up with a quick or good reply verbally, but that wasn’t the point of the evening. Also, anything Pete would have said would have to be equally personal and he knew it would spoil the evening, and he had too much class to go to places like Andre’s meth addiction. Shame on him for not doing that during an event for a good cause, huh?

Going after Pete’s inability to make a comeback is weaker than any of his responses. It wasn’t about how smartly you could mouth off that night. The other three on court recognised it. Sampras did nothing personal when he did the “walk”, and he’s done it before in an exho against Agassi with fun results. This time it was clear. Agassi decided to make it personal. If it was me, I would have tried to hit Andre not once but on every shot I got. I don’t have the level of class that Pete has to limit it to just one serve.

By the way, if it was so lame for Sampras to have aimed for Agassi on serve, why wasn’t it equally lame when Agassi did it to Federer earlier in response to a playful comment made by Roger? But of course, whatever Agassi does is truly cool, even if it’s the same thing someone else did.

Also, aiming for players in response to comments they’ve just made is extremely common in exhos.

I thought it was pretty badass that Sampras pretty much managed to make Agassi duck while attempting an accurate serve from one baseline to the next. Still the best damn serve in the business.

All the Agassi-hating is justified in my book. He’s an insecure man, and I was once his biggest fan. He never once thought about the consequences of his actions when he wrote that idiotic book. And he continues to show that he is yet to mature.


anon Says:

all pete did was beat andre in most of the big mathces they played. is he gonna have to apologize to andre for the rest of his life?

andre fan


Dan Martin Says:

Skeezer is right. I think Andre in some ways is airing things that could be left where they were 10-15-20 years ago. Andre maybe does hate tennis and if that is the case just work on being a dad and running a school. Andre’s insecurity was really visible even before the incidents. Roger and Rafa were clearly at a loss. The light hearted event in Oz could have been replicated in SoCal with two retired legends and two active legends all on court at once. Instead we got a lot of awkward moments due to one guy being disrespectful.

Andre gave a great retirement speech. His school is cool. He seems to love his wife and kids. On a tennis court, I don’t buy all of the evolved stuff any longer. He is the same guy he was before 1999 on court. Some will like that, but the crowd and Pete deserved better than that in that situation.


Dan Martin Says:

Also, Pete when he said “my baggage” was probably thinking over whether Agassi’s baggage (admitting to tanking, admitting to meth use, admitting to lying about meth use to the ATP, a failed marriage etc.) was fair game. Pete could have gotten personal as well. Agassi joked about its all fun until someone gets hurt. Pete could have hurt Andre and the evening by going there, but did not.


RR Says:

DAN: “Also, Pete when he said “my baggage” was probably thinking over whether Agassi’s baggage (admitting to tanking, admitting to meth use, admitting to lying about meth use to the ATP, a failed marriage etc.) was fair game. Pete could have gotten personal as well. Agassi joked about its all fun until someone gets hurt. Pete could have hurt Andre and the evening by going there, but did not.”

EXACTLY!

And even if Pete didn’t have the wit to come up with something, it was clear he was always going to take the higher ground.

I was shocked at Andre’s behavior. He tried too hard, and the results were truly unfortunate. The ubnderlying problem is this: He was clearly uncomfortable about coming out and facing these men, one of whom he dissed monumentally on personal levels. He tried to mask it, but the insecurities came pouring out in a very ugly way. No excuses for him. He behaved very poorly. His action would have been boorish under any circumstances, but yesterday, when the event should have been foremost, his behavior was really inexcusable.

I felt terrible for Pete. I never loved him as I love Roger…but I always respected him. He didn’t deserve this on the court yesterday. I thought he handled it the best way he could, and even after the event he exercised restraint and class. It’s more than you can say for Agassi, who clearly has some very serious issues when it comes to Pete, Roger and tennis in general. Too bad.

I thought Roger looked really angry. I’ve never seen him with such a thunderous expression on court, for such a long period of time. He looked livid. He was probably really upset at the insult directed towards Pete, plus the fact that Agassi ruined the event.

I was pleasantly surprised by Nadal, who had the gumption to ask Agassi to quiet down. He did it with a great deal of dignity.

Not a great night for tennis. I hope these organizers never put Agassi and Pete on a court together, and if such an offer should come Pete’s way, I hope he says no.

I don’t see Agassi improving. The book did not banish his demons. They are lurking around and dangerous.


Cilic Chilled; Federer, Murray, Roddick Highlight Sunday at Indian Wells Says:

[...] Recent News… Hit for Haiti 2: Agassi Disrespects Sampras [...]


sar Says:

Tam, I wish they would get rid of Slob too.

Today will be my last day here at IW before heading home to watch on my TV. Loved the experience. Last night there weren’t many people for the Novak match. It was just too cold. Even earlier for Nadal there weren’t too many. Certainly not a packed house. I got to see at least one set of all my faves. I espcially wanted to see the women as I had seen many of the men before. The match I wanted to see but could not get in was Davy and Gulbis. It was crammed full and was on court 2. This match deserved the main court. Instead they had Kuz on there with no people. Glad I got to see Ana on court 3. They were all pulling for her but it wasn’t to be. She just doesn’t have confindence anymore. Her family was in the crowd. It was sad. She has a huge oriental fan base. Aside from Davy and Gulbis I didn’t see Clijster but can’t see them all. Today I will see Murray, Fed, Monfils, Bryans, Nestor and Z and Tipsy. We’ll be flitting back and forth. Heading for the courts after breakfast. I’m staying at the Holiday Inn in Indio.


lifelongtennisfan Says:

OK. Wanna talk about charity?? Let’s talk about how many appearances Pete has made at charity events since his retirement… Or how much money he has raised for non-profits…

Anybody have those numbers? No?? I wonder why… Maybe because he’s one of the LEAST charitable athlete ever!

Pete is widely known amongst athletes as being a cheapskate. He does not give back. He hoards his money. The only reason he did this exo was because ALL the other players had already signed on and he had to save face.

Andre on the other hand has raised over $80 million since his retirement. He and Stef were the first ones to sign on to this event. He is one of the only athletes ever to start a non-profit charitable foundation while their career was still going on.

So go ahead. Slander Andre. It just shows the lack of big-picture understanding you all have…


Joe W Says:

Well the HFH2 /Andre-Pete exchange has been thoroughly debated here and abroad so please accept these two quotations as my meager contribution to the discourse:
“An ounce of blood is worth more than a pound of friendship.”
– Old Spanish proverb adapted for Canon’s “Image is Everything” Ad campaign

“Silence is the true friend that never betrays”
– The Philosopher Confucius. 551-479 BC or Pete Sampras’ “note to self” after the post-match presser (Keep your secrets and intimate details to yourself and you’ll never be betrayed) doh, darn it, not again!)

Public comments:
1. Did anyone else notice that Steffi played much better, in a singles match against Kim Cljisters no less, at the Wimby Roof dedication last July than for HFH Exho? Also, Andre was much less “animated” playing with his Wife, Henman, and Cljisters at the Wimby exho than with the “boys” at IW.
2. Does anyone else have a hard time believing that Steffi is 41?! Wow, what an athlete (and body).
3. Given the language barrier, Justine, like Rafa, should be commended for being a jolly good fellow. It takes a lot of confidence and faith in mankind to play a speaking role in an event where your native tongue is not employed.
4. Martina meant no ill will with her endless banter, after all she was chatty as a player, but she should have left her TV commentator chops at the office. I think she creeped the other girls out a bit
5. Where are the Williams sisters?
6. Pete and Andre retired from Pro Tennis with low back issues. Just looking at Pete’s stance, gait, posture, etc..It appears that he is suffering from back pain, perhaps more than Andre does. (having had four low back surgeries, it’s nearly impossible to play with moderate-to-sever low back pain)
7. Can anyone say that Fed doesn’t genuinely love the game of tennis? He bounces around like a little kid and is nothing but smiles at all of the Exhos. That’s why he hasn’t left the game yet. He really enjoys what he does for a living.
8. Tracy Austins’ post-match question to Steffi about their children’s tennis future really had her squirming for an answer. Steffi’s tap dancing and resultant response is consistent with the sentiment expressed by Andre in ‘Open’ whereby declaring that in no way would their kids be playing tennis. Thus l leave you with one more quote:

“In order to acquire a growing and lasting respect in society, it is a good thing, if you possess great talent, to give, early in your youth, a very hard kick to the right shin of the society that you love. After that, be a snob.

– Salvador Dali


TearTheRoofOff Says:

There appear to be some comments regarding the fact that mocking someone’s walk, which they can’t help is ruder and more disrespectful than something like their tipping habits. I disagree with this. Almost everyone, especially the elite tennis players are imitatable in some way, whether it be their walk, strange habits, posture, facial expressions etc. The vast majority of people can have their idiosyncracies imitated and exaggerated in the name of light hearted mockery (much like an artist’s caracature of someone), and I for one felt the mood regarding Pete’s imitation was very light with bountiful laughter. It wasn’t as if the walk is part of a disability, so it wasn’t particularly nasty.

Pointing out the tipping habits of someone is talking about a particularly negative trait, suggesting that they are actualy a nasty person who is inconsiderate and mean, causing some people to raise their eyebrows at them and question their moral compass. This is arguably more insulting and very disrespectful in comparison to the former.

I would much rather someone mocked my walking style or another physical trait or mannerism than cast considerable doubt upon my morals and values. Even if it were a true story, i don’t think it is something to exaggerate the relevance of in front of 15,000 people and on television. I could feel that surge of anger go through Pete’s body and I felt every reaction was well deserved and thoroughly provoked. It’s not as if Pete was rude to the Valet, or violent; he didn’t rob him or give him grief of any sort. At the end of the day he gave them money and is going to be viewed as an arsehole by some people for it because of the way in which the story has been ‘outed’. I for one think it was quite rude of Agassi to ask the valet how much Pete tipped him. That’s very much one of those ‘none of your business’ moments if you ask me. I think it was a barrel scraped story used to lower the majesty of his rival.

Now I’m not informed enough on Agassi’s personality – hell I’ve never met him – cast judgement upon him as a person and call him an arsehole, but regarding this instance, I believe he was a bit of an arsehole at the time. He may be fine at all other times but it is important to analyze the specific situation rather than being biased due to external analysis; in such a case I think it was a nasty thing to do/say.

On a lighter note, well done to all who were involved in making this possible. I commend the players’ class on the evening besides Agassi, although he was quite funny and well spirited besides this incident.

I apologise if this post seems like a pompous lecture, but I needed to get this all off the ol’ chest – it remains an opinion :)


Steve Says:

Ben-
Interesting article. I believe both Agassi and Sampras had underlying grudges coming on the court. Agassi never loved Sampras, calling him “robotic” in his book. As a charitable man, I think Agassi cannot understand why Pete isn’t more generous with his money. He was probably not in the right to attack Pete, but there was definitely underlying tension the whole night.

And when it comes to Gimelstob, that shouldn’t be a reason to trash talk him. He is a different man than his earlier “brat days”. I know Justin personally and he is a great, kind hearted man.


RR Says:

Whether or not Pete gives back is pretty damn IRRELEVANT. At that time, it was not the right moment for Agassi to come up with tipping issues, ruining the atmosphere for the night, even if he’s right about it, for which he has no proof. I happen to actually know a waitress in Pete’s neck of the woods that says he’s a fantastic tipper. Why should you believe me? (This is true, though.)

It’s amazing, to see someone ADMIT that Agassi “slandered” at a charity match and then say he was right to do it all along because he was telling the truth! Twisted logic if there ever was any.

It’s up to Pete whether or not he wants to give someone 50 cents or a 100 dollars to a waitress. But you don’t bring it up on court just to prove you’re not as cheap as someone else. Personally, I’ve had enough of everyone telling me how much Andre has done for the game and children. Every single thing he tried to do as an elder statesman fell into the trash. Blowing kisses to the crowd? I hated tennis. I love you all and you have given me your shoulders to stand on? But I lied to the ATP and did crystal meth. I’m just trying to be honest here? But please go ahead and buy my stupid judgemental book off shelves.


Sammy Says:

Wow, most of you here behave as if it Pete Sampras is a saint. Both Sampras and Agassi are at fault for what happened yesterday. Sampras knew earlier on that Agassi commented about his tipping habits in his book and it was all over the web and newspapers. So to say that Sampras was upset because it was brought up in front of 16,000 people is silly as he knows that the whole world knows about his tipping habit. And don’t get me wrong, I am not supporting Agassi either but Sampras cannot get a free pass for aiming at someone’s head with a high speed serve no matter how uncomfortable he was with the comments.


Dan Martin Says:

Lifelong,

We don’t really know how charitable Pete is or is not. I do recall Pete donated 250,000 to help with cerebral palsy when he won the inaugural Grand Slam cup in 1990. Pete always donated money and items to the Tim and Tom Gullikson foundation. Pete has been more private about a lot of things than Andre, but to say he is miserly is really unfounded unless you have his tax returns sitting in front of you. My guess is Pete gives a lot of money away for tax purposes, but he always participated in the Arthur Ashe Kids Day, did a lot of fund raising for the Gulliksons and families impacted by brain cancer, he probably has a few charities he keeps close to his heart and he did the Hit for Haiti 2 so it is hard for me to see how we can jump on him for being tight fisted with his cash.

Andre did bring a lot of things into the public sphere with his book so we do know a bit more about his character and mores. Some will like them and others won’t. I am rendering my own judgment that off the court Andre is a good citizen who has made a huge difference for a lot of kids, but on court he is no different than he was prior to his second career that supposedly began in 1998/1999. The off the court stuff is more important, but if that is where Andre functions best please stay off the court.


RR Says:

Nobody here is saying Pete is a saint. We’re talking about the incident. And at the time of the incident, however anyone twists it, Andre was at fault.

Also this stuff about being a cheapskate is unproven and pure word-of-mouth nonsense that people tend to automatically assume because Sampras hardly ever shows emotion or openly reveals compassion.

As for charity, saying that Sampras doesn’t contribute is absolutely false. Sampras has been constantly supportive of a charitable organisations, and has donated plenty. With “Aces For Charity” he donated a hundred dollars for every ace he served. If Sampras served close to even 500 aces a year, that’s nearly half a million bucks in ten years. Also, like Dan Martin mentioned he has donated to Tim’s and Tom’s foundation.

Just because you don’t shout it out from the rooftops, doesn’t mean you don’t help. Off-court, Andre has been great, and has most certainly done more, but that is HIS choice. What was he trying to prove by bringing up the tipping thing in the first place on-court? How low a blow is it to call someone cheap at a charity event? If he’s helping out off-court, that’s fantastic. But why call someone else cheap in front of thousands? How insecure must he be?

This was supposed to be a fun event. And one that he should have been was respectful to those watching. Rod Laver walked on court, and Roger Federer immediately took his cap off in respect. Pity Agassi had to tarnish the event in front of such a wonderful champion.


MMT Says:

I felt the whole incident was instigated by Agassi goading Sampras into getting in on the joking. I find it absurd that he took offense at being imitated as I do the arrogance of assuming everyone had read his book (after all, how else are we to know that Sampras is frugal and Agassi’ gait is due to his spinal condition.)

Sampras would never had made any jokes if Agassi hadn’t goaded him, and when he complied (by joking) Agassi should have taken it like a man, instead of hitting him below the belt. Perhaps Sampras was a bit thin-skinned, but isn’t ironic that Sampras is being malinged by Agassi for being tight with money, when he’s playing a Charity event for earthquake victims?

And BTW, if Sampras wanted to hit him with his serve he could have – he didn’t. That too was a joke – Sampras’ way of joking – nothing but a little chin music, to which Agassi, again, took offense, which I also found absurd.

Agassi was right out of order, and had no business being so offended after he made fun of just about everyone who would listen, and even some who wouldn’t.

Anyway, I’ll bet the next Hit For Haiti will bring in double the money if there’s any chance of a repeat of Agassi’s antics and/or Sampras’ retort. Sampras and Agassi should play a winner takes all best of 5 set exhibition – loser donates $500K to each of Haiti and Chile (total $1 million purse).

For the record, I thought Agassi was hilarious until he dissed Sampras.


Joe Devon Says:

I agree w/ the majority opinion here. It was a disgrace and low blow. Even asking the valet how much Sampras tipped, if it ever happened, was pretty low.

Can you imagine, during IW, Rafa asking a valet how much Roger tipped him? Eww.

I just googled and read Andre’s blurb about B. Shields. That sounded like a trumped out story too. Not too believable. And extremely low class to detail a past sexual exploit about a woman you married. And to say she put your current wife’s pic on the fridge as inspiration to lose weight? What kind of “man” is that? What a horrible thing to do to a woman.

The only disagreement to this thread I have, is when people say he’s insecure. He didn’t look insecure at all. He’s just a jerk is all.

I wouldn’t put it past him that he planned referring to his book in this manner, in advance, in order to sell more copies…

I used to like him, because I’ve only become a big tennis fan lately…but now that I saw this event, I’m totally disappointed…By contrast, Pete was full of class.

I don’t even think he didn’t have a comeback. He just had more class than to comeback with what he was thinking. He even mentioned baggage, because he could have said lots of stuff about meth use, but refrained.

To portray him as dumb, is wishful thinking. Tennis is one of the brainiest sports out there. The mind games are central to winning.

P.S. I’m not too impressed by the self-proclaimed saints of charity. For PR, these days companies spend millions to brag about charities they “founded”, gave almost no money to other than “raising” money from fans and fronting legal costs to form the foundation…

“Raising” money, basically means being rich at the hands of your fans and asking THEM to dig deep and donate to charity. Big deal, that’s easy and it’s good PR for the brand.

Let’s face it, to raise a million for Haiti, Any of them could have done it alone. Or $250k a piece. They’d notice it less than most people notice spending $100 bucks.

I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the personal donations Pete has made money-wise eclipse Andre’s. He’s just a more private guy while Andre’s marketing of his generosity does work wonders.


lifelongtennisfan Says:

RR (somehow) SAID:
“This stuff about being a cheapskate is unproven and pure word-of-mouth nonsense that people tend to automatically assume because Sampras hardly ever shows emotion or openly reveals compassion.”

REALLY? Word of mouth nonsense?? You think people “tend to assume” Pete is cheap because of the way he carries himself ON THE COURT?

As a former top 25 player (who beat Pete a few times throughout the years), let me tell you… It very much DOES have to do with his OFF COURT attitude. He HARDLY EVER gave back. (And I’m sorry but referring to his 1990 contribution doesn’t count. That money came directly from the event, not from him. It was gonna be donated on behalf of whoever won the tournament. Sorry to burst your bubble. It was widely known amongst all of us at the time, and it was very controversial that Pete actually took credit for it. To this day, it is still talked about amongst players who know Pete’s cheapskate ways.)

Pete is constantly asked to back meaningful causes, and yes, every once in a great while he’ll do something to help, but usually it’s because he’s making $200-250K for just showing up. Sometimes he demands more… No joke. HE EVEN CHARGES NON-PROFITS FOR HIS TIME. Does that make a quality person?

Think about this: Pete has made over $200 million in prize money, appearance fees & endorsements throughout his career. That is a pretty darn big number. The guy should give constantly. But he doesn’t. Instead he hoards his money and gambles and chews cigars and gives bad tips. HE COULD DO SO MUCH GOOD in this world but he chooses not to. His actions (or lack thereof) speak volumes.

And for the record, he raised a little over $1 million in 3 years for his “Aces For Charity” cause. That’s NOTHING for someone at the top of a major sport. And it didn’t require him to do anything beyond what he was naturally good at in the first place – serving. (For those of you who do the research and come up with a different number, keep in mind, any extra/matched money came from SPONSOR DONATIONS, not from him personally. They had something to gain by matching his money.)

During the SAME 3 YEARS, Andre raised $23 MILLION for charity. $23 million!!

As far as giving, they’re not even in the same ballpark. They shouldn’t even be in the same conversation…


RR Says:

To lifelongftennisfan:

Who cares how much he has donated? What does that have to do with the way Andre conducted himself that night? Since when did Andre get a free pass on anything he says or does because “who donates more is right”?

Like I said, I acknowledge that Andre has done plenty off-court. Far more than Pete. It doesn’t mean he’s necessarily a good role model or right for the way he behaved.

We’re talking about the incident and by the way, as cheap as you think Sampras might be, it happens to be up to HIM how he wants to use his money. If he’s a tight-wad, so be it. Why bring it up at a charity event? Did anyone on court mention that Agassi was a narcissistic individual with daddy issues, or bring up his old hair-piece, or that he that he waited for just the right moment to court Steffi (when she was vulnerable about her dad’s tax issues)? No. Everyone knows this stuff, but they didn’t bring it up. Because they were there to have fun, not to air dirty laundry. Agassi brought up something so personal for one reason, because he knew if push came to shove verbally, he could take Pete or anyone else out on that court in an instant. Pure bullying.

If Pete feels he should rather keep his money for himself, then using that to say Andre was not wrong for the way he behaved at this event makes absolutely no sense. The argument was NEVER initially over who donates more, but over who was behaving like a child at the event. You can give me a million numbers if you like, but there’s a reason the overwhelming majority thinks that Andre behaved wrongly. And that overwhelming majority already knew that Andre had done much more for charity as well.

At an event like that, it is of course important to have fun. But at someone else’s expense? Because Andre thinks Pete tips too little?

Agassi is no saint, and never will be a saint. If he was such a lovely person he’d never write a book that would leave the very tennis fraternity that made him what he is under suspicion simply because he needed to get things off his chest and sell more units of his book, WHEREVER the proceeds went. The point is, both guys could have gotten personal. Pete could have gotten personal over the many things Andre said about him in his book. He didn’t. On the other hand, Andre actually managed to find something personal to say about Pete at a charity event.

Oh and I don’t know why you brought up beating Pete in the first place. If you did, that’s fantastic. Hats off. Why is that relevant though?

Also, I never mentioned the 1990 donations. Someone else did.

Anyhow, just because someone gives to charity does not automatically mean he/she is a genuinely good person. The person may have done a good thing, of course, but nobody is beyond reproach for his/her actions, however much they donate. Just ask Tiger Woods.


RR Says:

To lifelongtennisfan:

My apologies for realising a little late that you mentioned playing on tour and beating Pete to show that you were around then and knew what Pete was like first-hand. I meant no offence by that remark. I was a little slow there.

I do stand by the rest of my post though.


Dan Martin Says:

I guess the mystery to me is who is lifelong tennis fan? David Wheaton? Richie Reneberg? Derrick Rostagno?


Believer Says:

Lifelong tennis fan should come out (with proof) on who he is before vouching for Agassi’s work or for Sampras’(non work).

If you claim to be a top 25 ranked player, then just come out and say who you are. Either way it doesn’t change anything. Agassi instigated this whole thing by being overly aggressive with his comments. The match would have played out naturally without Agassi taking ownnership of the whole thing. Let us all remember without Agassi’s participation “Hit For Haiti 1″ was a huge success. This hit however will be well rememberered for Agassi’s below the belt hit and how he sucked the life out of the event.


Ben Pronin Says:

Conversations are a tricky sport.

I don’t think Agassi’s charity work vs Sampras’s charity work has anything to do with this. Agassi took his joke too far. And even if it’s because Sampras can’t take a joke, he still acted with class at the end by saying that he has nothing against Agassi. Agassi completely ignored him though. Childish. Charity events don’t make up for acting disrespectful to other people.


RR Says:

My point precisely, Ben.

No one cares who spends more on what or who gives away more to charity. It wasn’t something Agassi should have brought up. It was petty, and disrespectful not only to Pete but to viewers in general.


Dan Martin Says:

I think RR and Ben have hit the nail on the head. You hear scuttlebutt about how Lendl or Sampras could be intimidating or have biting humor in the locker room, how uncomfortable it was wait to go on court for a match with Connors …. Maybe that is all true and maybe fans even need to know this, but the time to inform the fans is not at a charity event.

Also, the point being raised about snooping on someone’s tipping habits comes right out of an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm.


MMT Says:

To be fair, Andre was playing fantatic that night and was knocking it out of the park with his jokes, which up until the incident were just fine. I laughed harder at that than I did at SNL.

A couple of highlights: Agassi served as high as 126 and twice predicted his serve speed and then served within 1mph of his prediction. He also blasted a return off of a 120+ Federer serve right past Federer’s feet – toes on the baselilne, of course.

To my recollection Sampras didn’t lose a point to Nadal consistently serving wide and dragging him completely out of position – kind of makes you wonder how Nadal would have handled playing Sampras.

During one point, Federer hit about 6 volleys in succession from flat blasted shots from both Nadal and Agassi before drop volleying Nadal’s last belter about 3 feet from the other side of the net (for a winner).

And finally, Nadal let fly a couple of flat forehand bombs and I have to say that although they missed, I was amazed at the power he generated – easily more power than any player on court.

Some comedic highlights:

Nadal challenged a Federer serve, which Agassi concurred, then as soon as the call was upheld by hawkeye Agassi hollered (in jest) “What’s the matter with you?”

Nadal missed an overhead stab at the net, and although he leapt about 3 feet in the air to even get his racquet on it, as Nadal handed him for his next serve he derisively snapped up the ball (in jest), and said, “They just don’t make atheletes like they used to.”

Agassi called “I got it” on a drop volley, then when it became clear he wouldn’t reach it, yelled, “Yours!” which Nadal tried in vain to return. Agassi, without missing a beat said, “You look a lot faster on TV.”

Agassi, before serving looked over the net at Sampras and said, “You know what I just realized? 10,000 kids are watching right now and asking, ‘Who are these two old bald guys playing with Federer and Nadal?’ Sampras replied that he still had some left, but that Agassi looked like Kojak, to which Agassi mocked HIMSELF and replied, “Pete – we all know the secret of your hair [piece], okay, just let it go. Just shave it off, it’s so liberating, just do it!”

Finally, as Federer went for and then hesitated on a shot down the middle, causing Sampras to miss his shot, he was mumbling to himself (loud enough for everyone to hear), something to the effect that ‘that was awful – I went, and then I didn’t go, I should have just left it, that was just awful’. To which Agassi replied, “Roger, who are you talking to right now? That sounds like a pretty fun party going on inside your own head.”

Finally, after Sampras and Agassi had their little tete a tete, Gimelstob tried to diffuse it and asked something like, Federer, ‘…these old school rivalries are pretty intense, different than you and Nadal.’ to which Federer repsonded something like, “Well, their rivalry was a lot longer, probably by the end ours it will be the same.”

It’s a shame, because the whole thing would have been smashing success (for the television audience, that is – I can’t speak for those who were in attendance) with only the highlights and the jokes. At some point Nadal even said to Agassi, “You’re playing unbelieveable,” and he was.

I still think Sampras and Agassi should have a grudge match, and I think I’m going to start a petition to get them to play “a loser donates on behalf of the winner $500K each to both Haiti and Chile” grudge match and make something positive out of this.


MMT Says:

Before the match Gimelstob asked Agassi what he though of his wife’s performance, to which Agassi replied, “You mean, on the court?” Everyone started laughing and Agassi added, “Get your minds out of the gutter!”

Also, Agassi, for some reason, kept his track suit pants on the whole time, and finally Federer asked him, “When are you going to take off your long pants?” To which Agassi replied, “You don’t want to see that – my legs haven’t seen the sun in a long time.” Then, just as Sampras was about to serve he added, “I’m not even wearing any underwear under this, so…”

Later Federer and Nadal went into their forehand to forehand grunting routine, which they did in Australia. But then Federer did it with Agassi, and as the spins got bigger Agassi said, mockingly, “…oh, that’s so much spin,” and then on the very next shot proceed to belt a 100mph forehand cross court – unfortunately he missed, but impressive nonetheless.

Finally, Agassi belted a passing shot at Federer’s face, really hard and flat, that he barely had time to get out of the way of, to which Roger asked Agassi (with a smile), “What are you doing? You know, I’m not used to all this pace anymore – today it’s all about the spin!”

Good times.


MMT Says:

I have a theory about the dip-gate spy – I think it’s plausible that he made Sampras out to have given a really bad tip in order to get Agassi to give him a really good one. In businesses that depend on tips, only fool tells anyone who asks that he just got a great tip – especially if the the one asking OWNS a private jet. When I waited tables I have to admit that I would tell anyone who was asking that I paying my own way through grad school and exaggerated my accent from time to time to make patrons want to chip it for this poor immigrant paying his way through school.


leo vixen Says:

Andre Agassi is clearly very uncomfortable in his own skin, feeling the need to chatter away the whole time, trying way too hard to be liked by everyone, trying way too hard to be funny, when he clearly knew that he had upset Pete Sampras by things that he said about him in his book.He also knew full well that Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal criticized him in the media for his methamphetamine addiction and lying to the ATP about his drug use. His whole comedic act was too forced and unnatural. Clearly he has many issues and there was no need to make reference to the stupid incident with the valet. Pete Sampras is and will always be a more serious player and that is his personality and it should be left at that. He never wanted to be Mr. Personality, just the guy who won grand slams, and until Roger Federer, he was the only guy who did just that. It just goes to show that albeit greatly talented in tennis, Andre Agassi still has not grown up, and writing that book probably never helped him gain introspection, just more money. Hopefully, it will be put towards a good charity at least.
It was a huge difference from the “Hit for Haiti” from the Australian Open which was a more spontaneous and really entertaining event. And just as an aside, why would anyone put Roger and Pete on the same side? Couldn’t there be a more equal distribution of Grand Slams/side. Roger and Agassi and Sampras and Nadal might have made more sense. At least the end result was successful in raising the money for Haiti, and showing us who the classier tennis players really are.


Joe Devon Says:

If lifelongtennisfan is truly a player rather than just a fan, then why doesn’t he say who he is? (I know this was asked already, but I’m going to take it a little further)…

I wouldn’t be surprised if Pete and Andre are reading this thread. How hard would it be for Andre to pose as someone here? Or to ask a buddy to do it for him? (I don’t really think he did, but the point is, that’s always a possibility.)

People, stay anonymous, that’s fine. But don’t tell personal stories from the cowardice of your anonymity. That’s an even lower blow than Andre’s antics that hurt people like Brooke and Pete. At least Andre has the balls to tell people off to their face in his own name.

If you need anonymity, then stick to what’s known and debate the case on merits that are known to all. Because personal stories told in that fashion are unfair to all of us, not just Pete et. al.


Ben Pronin Says:

I kinda agree with Joe Devon.

It’s hard to give specific examples of interaction and stay anonymous at the same time. Find another way to do it, don’t do it at all, or prepare yourself for ridicule.

Anyways, I would be surprised if Agassi or Sampras were reading this thread. 1)I doubt Sampras would ever care. 2)Agassi might care but I can’t imagine him concerning himself with a thread here, by an unknown blogger, on a site with crazy Fed fans. Ask a buddy to defend him on an internet blog? I would be absolutely shocked if that were to ever happen anywhere with anyone.

My question is, if you are a former player, why so much hate towards Sampras? It can’t be that he doesn’t donate enough. As a player, you’d be more upset over something more tennis related, otherwise you should be pissed off at everyone who isn’t Agassi, Roddick, and maybe Federer.


RR Says:

Andre was hilarious through a lot of it. Great anecdotes there from MMT.

But I believe the problem is that Andre went out there feeling just a little bit uncomfortable. He’d just dissed Pete in his book. Nadal had some not-so-kind words to say about him with regard to his meth confession, and Roger also mentioned it was a pity, but ever the diplomat, he also said that since his meth days, Andre has done a lot for the sport and kids.

So Andre came out on court to play with/against three guys, one who was always going to be cordial (Roger), one who was clearly unhappy with his recent confessions (Rafa) and one who expressed outright disappointment in references made to him in his book (Pete). I’ve watched quite a few exhos that Andre was a part of, and he does joke around a lot, but there was a desperation in this particular exho when it came to his humour. He seemed to need to talk over and above everyone else.

He was funny as hell sometimes, but I believe he lacked some degree of sensitivity. For the record, I think Roger handles these events the best. He seems to know exactly how much to pull whose leg, based on recent history and most importantly, first language. Andre, on the other hand, didn’t strike the right balance here. I do believe that while he was really funny with Rafa, Andre might not have taken into consideration the fact that Nadal really had no idea as to what was so funny about Andre’s jokes. Nadal said later, “I didn’t understand anything,” with regard to the Pete-Andre altercation, so there was no way he had any idea as to why what Agassi was saying was funny. The crowd was entertained, of course, but a fellow player’s involvement and understanding of the situation could have been taken into consideration to a slightly larger degree.

Andre pushed just a little too hard and like I said earlier, I believe it was because he knew that the other three men had been hard-done by him of recent, though in very different ways and to very different degrees. He seemed to need to crack jokes at any and all times. I know people that went to the event, and said that there was a lot of murmuring in the crowd over why Agassi seemed so hopped up. It was all really funny, but it was turning into the Andre Agassi show.


Tom Gainey Says:

Hi everyone. Andre has just apologized for how he acted.

http://www.tennis-x.com/xblog/2010-03-15/3589.php


Believer Says:

The apology is half hearted and not heart felt. As a fan I will take something than nothing. From his remarks he is even accepting that he felt the need to react in a comical fashion. As every one is saying here, his behavior at the exhibition felt un-natural. He should have left the evnt play out itself without making rabid comments.


Joe Devon Says:

Ben,

Just to clarify a couple things, as I said, I don’t think it was Andre or a friend of his, my point was that we have no clue who this person is. It can be anyone. Personally I think it’s a big fan of Andre, not a player.

And the reason I think the two might be reading this, if I’m either one, I want to know the fan reaction. I google the event. And read the first 3-4 stories. This thread was in the top 2-3 in my search.


Ben Pronin Says:

I guess if it had to be one of them it’d be Agassi. I can’t imagine Sampras caring enough to google the reaction.


Ben Pronin Says:

What specifically did you search in google?


JH Says:

The fact that Agassi feels the need to draw a comparison between his charity work and Sampras being “cheap” says all we need to know about Andre. He is a sad excuse for a person with deeper psychological issues than any of us know. Whatever insecurity is driving him to act this way was probably the catalyst for his drug use as well. That apology was just an attempt to shift the heat to Pete. It really seemed half-hearted and insincere to me. As far as “lifelongtennisfan” is concerned- until you provide proof I call bullshit! lol


Joe Devon Says:

Ben,

Don’t remember exactly but I think it was something like Agassi Sampras Hit for Haiti :)

Now there’s a bunch more stories but for first day after event there were only a few decent choices on this topic showing in Google.

BTW, did you catch Justin on Fox apologizing for Andre and twisting what happened in Andre’s favor? Really lame.


betty from Alabama Says:

GIVE ME A BREAK!!!!!

I understand samprass said something about his bald head and also mocked his walk.

How is the thing about tipping any worse. It is not. It was just as personal or more personal to do what Samprass did.

Agassi has got so much class and was very HUMBLE on the court the last several years he played. You can not go back and talk about things he may have done years and years ago.

Get off his back!!!!!!

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