Best of Three: Sampras, Agassi wrong to hijack Haiti benefit
Best of Three while wondering what
I was reminded of that excruciating, uncomfortable feeling watching
Held in Melbourne on the eve of the Australian Open, "H4H1" was a heartwarming, ad-libbed exhibition-"organic" (
The Sampras-Agassi clip happened at H4H Part Deux, held Friday at Indian Wells. It seemed like a fine idea, a stateside sequel that would raise $1 million for a country in distress. Unfortunately, the event was clouded -- if not outright hijacked -- by the cringe-inducingly awkward, passive-aggressive (and not always so passive) sniping of Agassi and Sampras. A night that was supposed to be about raising money for charity somehow became about a pair of retirees trying to settle old scores and playing out hostilities from the pages of a memoir. (Federer and
If nothing else, this bit of badinage offered some nifty insight into both players -- consider it a video outtake from
As we've discussed here before, it's funny how some of the skill set required for success in sports -- intensity, self-absorption, reflexive competitiveness, a low threshold for disrespect -- doesn't always translate so well to the real world. I found this whole exchange fascinating in an icky kind of way. Sampras and Agassi are both great champions and, on the athlete continuum, are both still squarely in the good guy camp. But, to traffic in understatement, this was not their finest moment.
Before we move on and chalk this up to another wacky interlude in the Kingdom of Tennis, let's acknowledge that a seven-figure donation was made for a cause that sorely needs it. A tip of the cap to