• Legends Unite in Hit For Haiti exhibition

    3/13/10 6:53 AM | James Munoz
    Legends Unite in Hit For Haiti exhibition Some of the greatest to ever play the game united for an exhibition benefitting American Red Cross Haiti Relief and Development Fund.

    Duke Ellington once said “A problem is a chance for you to do your best”. The situation in Haiti has galvanized some of the greatest in the game of tennis to come together for one night and to raise money for Haiti earthquake relief. Roger Federer, Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Rafael Nadal, Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf, Justine Henin and Lidnsay Davenport participated in the Hit For Haiti exhibition presented by Oracle. The goal of this exhibition was to raise over $1 million for the American Red Cross Haiti Relief and Development Fund.

    Bringing together some of the greatest names in the sport of tennis is never easy, but with such a worthy cause, it was academic. Oracle founder and new owner of the BNP Paribas Open event in Indian Wells, Larry Ellison spearheaded the fundraiser and by all accounts it was a success. The event was played Friday night and could be seen televised on the Tennis Channel and streamed on the BNP Paribas website.

    The first exhibition match featured Martina and Henin against Graf and Davenport. The match was a wonderful show featuring some great exchanges both in play and during inbetween points. One could not help but feel a bit of nostalgia watching these legends on the court again. Without the pressure of a slam title on the line, the atmosphere was jovial and energetic to say the least. Steffi and Martina brought about the most smiles with their playful personalities on full display. Needless to say, the players certainly filled their role in entertaining and fundraising. With any luck they will look to remain a part of the game in future.

    The nightcap followed with Nadal and Agassi against Federer and Sampras. Jokes and laughter could be heard by nearly all. One slightly uncomfortable moment came when Agassi joked about Sampras’ tipping. But the mood was far too friendly to dwell on that incident for long. The 16,000+ crowd in attendance were thrilled to be a part of this great event and see these great champions. Happy to help those in need, these great champions will not be forgotten on this day and they ask you to not forget about those in need.

    If you are interested in helping Haitian victims, you can do so by texting “HAITI” to 90999 and a $10 donation will be added to your phone bill or donate directly at the American Red Cross Website.

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Federer/Sampras won 8-6 and Hingis/Navratilova won by same margin. .:) Yay!
Andre was simply brilliant though i have to say.. Almost took it away.. But, again yay! Of course tennis and red cross were the real winners.

FEDistheGOAT , 3/13/10 8:10 AM

i was really disappointed, i couldnt get the link where i live, but for all fans who want to see it, have checked GMT time today, and there is a HITFORHAITI airing at 3.30 a.m. on EUROSPORTS 2. Live Masters tennis at 7pm with a recording of matches played at 6 pm on skysports4.

Here is one opinion from some of the crowd who stayed up and watched it in USA (thanks FOT!)

Fot Says:
I watched the exho and here are my thoughts:

1. I thought the women?s match was a little boring. Martina tried her best to bring some ?fun? into the match, but the other 3 didn?t say too much. Plus, I don?t know if it was their mikes or their voices, but the women were hard to hear. I found myself wanting this match to hurry and get over with so I could see the men play.

2. I enjoyed the men?s match way more than the women. But you could have taken the mikes off Pete and Rafa for as much as they used them. Thank goodness that Roger and Agassi kind of ?entertained? the crowd more. Roger was better in Australia but if he had not said anything tonight, it would have been a one-way conversation by Agassi!

3. The best point for me was that volley exchange between Roger vs Nadal/Agassi. I kept saying ?Hey, they are trying to kill my man, Roger!? But Roger had those volleys under control and ended it with a nice angled volley winner! Even Agassi had to say ?Man, you?re good!?.

4. The exhibition did change some when the tense exchange between Pete and Andre came up. It was weird because I kept saying ?This should be fun!!!? when I clearly could feel the tension between the 2 through my television! I really felt for Roger and Rafa because they didn?t know what to do! Yes, Andre should not have gone there. But Pete was never known as a ?happy-go-lucky guy? in his prime either. He was my favorite when he played, but even he has said he wish he would have done some things differently when he played and wished he would have ?enjoyed? it more. He was very stand-off-ish during his playing time and yes, there was real tension between Agassi and Pete, unfortunately.

5. I?m glad Roger?s team won. His team also won in Australia. But more importantely, I?m glad they raised a lot of money for a good cause.

6. I wanted Justin to not only interviewi Pete and Agassi at the end - but I was waiting for him to interview Roger and Rafa too, but he didn?t! Tracy talked to all 4 women at the end but I guess Justin just wanted to try to clear the air between Pete and Agassi.

7. I know that Pete, Roger, and Rafa are all listed around 6?1 in height, but didn?t Roger look taller than all of them out there tonight? Either he?s ?officially? taller than they are, or he was wearing shoes with a thicker sole because he definitely looked taller than both Pete and Rafa.

8. The next time they do another ?exho?, I want them to stick with the current players. They seem to put on a better ?event? with less tension. Just make sure they keep Roger, Nole, and Roddick to keep the ?banter? friendly but funny.

: (I think there were difficulties between agassi and sampras?- a big shame).

maxi , 3/13/10 8:37 AM

Rafa said after the H4H in Australia that his English is not good enough to really engage in the banter because sometimes he doesn't understand the jokes. But hey, he adorned the court with his presence, what more do you want.

carrie , 3/13/10 8:44 AM

That was great, even though i like the OZ one our was just enjoyable and yea Nole was missin and serena as well as kim. But overall wat a an amazing job they did 1,000 000 00 that's unbelievable.

Believe , 3/13/10 1:05 PM

from gototennis: plenty of photos and a video link too.

One moment got awkward.

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.

maxi , 3/13/10 1:17 PM

I think that Agassi was out of line and I really felt he embarrased Sampras - it put a dampener on the rest of the match. He also made a tacky remark about his wife in the beginning which I don't think anybody thought was funny. I thought Agassi had more class than that. It's a shame.

mindura , 3/13/10 1:33 PM

In my opinion, Agassi went out there like he had some unresolved issues with Pete...he was constantly commenting and making fun of the others and that is usually done by someone who feels nervous or has some inferior complexes...I did not like him bringing up the ?tipping thing? that he elaborated in his book, especially when Sampras already said in an interview that the two of them set down over that issue an resolved it...Agassi was way out of line and it was simply not fair...he ruined the whole the end I felt sorry for Rafa and Fed...

natashao , 3/13/10 2:03 PM

Mr. Crystal Meth Dome was trying too hard to be funny and it just didn't work. When asked about Graf's performance in the first match, he used the word "performance" to imply sexual innuendo. During the match he talked endlessly during serves and rallies and probably threw the other guys off their game. There were some good rallies however. I thought Pete did a playful imitation much like a Djoker impression then Agassi went low with the tipping thing. Before Pete served that ball at his head he almost pelted Fed with a serve also. Don't know if it was intentional or not. He even made fun of Nadal when he missed a volley by saying,"They don't make athletes like they used to." Agassi was simply trying too hard or just classless but it didn't come over well. Martina talked a lot in the first match but she did a better job. Shame on Agassi.

chr18 , 3/13/10 2:27 PM

maxi - 3) best point by far was the long one with tons of overheads that Nadal and Agassi hit back Jimmy Connors style before Federer finished the point with a angled backhand volley.

6) Gimelstob did a horrible job, as usual

RickyDimon , 3/13/10 3:07 PM

I feel justified for never having taken to Agassi, I couldn't understant what his appeal was.

Henin is out, and she was favourite along with Kim to take the title.

carrie , 3/13/10 3:08 PM

While I agree with maxi's view of the incident, one thing seems pretty clear: Andre won't be heading for a new career in stand-up comedy. [It makes you wonder what the point of growing up in Las Vegas was, but there you go.]

Chr18, you're absolutely right: Martina may be mouthy, but what she says is usually worth hearing. She has a winning way on all fronts - just look at the warmth from the crowd for her.

gorafago , 3/13/10 3:16 PM

I think Agassi feels smug that despite his drugs disclosure, he has not paid any price for it and is still given respect that he does not deserve so he thinks he can behave how he likes. For once, maybe someone should say something to him.

I'm glad his crassness did not extend to Roger and Rafa, because he has issues with them too for speaking against his drug taking.

It looks like he is a chip of the old block - his dad, whom he paints as a totally unpleasant character in his book.

carrie , 3/13/10 3:22 PM

I was really impressed with the ladies game, Martina at 53 was great and Graff still has that beautiful forehand winner. They certainly were not as funny as the men but so talented. When it came to the men, Rafa was laughing the whole time and The Fed was 'having a blast.' Pete spoilt the whole evening by trying to defend the fact he's tight. He said a couple of weeks ago he would like to coach youngsters for the USTA but wanted to be compensated. When Pete walked on court he looked like he didn't want to be there. He should have let the comment from Agassi go, be a better man in the final interview and talk about the people he was there for... Haiti. Rafa and Fed were the better men last night, they have class and that's why they are champions regardless of who you support, gotta love 'em.

AceIt , 3/13/10 5:15 PM

Gotta say Agassi is a pretty rude guy. He got way to personal with Pete last night. Players make physical impersonations of each other all the time, but no one makes fun of another player's personality. Andre took it waaaaaaaay too far. Andre egged Pete into that impersonation too.

Here's a excerpt from an article:
"Remember, Agassi ripped Sampras in his book, Open, late last year, saying that Sampras was as robotic as his parrot, Peaches. Agassi also wrote that he and Sampras were in the same restaurant once, and when Sampras left, Agassi got the valet to confide to him that Sampras had tipped him just one buck.
The restaurant, by the way, was right here in Indian Wells. Sampras had been upset about the book, and said a few weeks ago that he and Andre needed to talk man-to man."

Come one, who writes that sort of stuff about a fellow player, let alone your main rival who has a winning record over you. Pete could have easily brought up Andre's meth use or his wig last night, but he showed class and bit his tongue. And after the match Pete even said he had nothing but love for Andre - and Andre didn't even return the sentiment, he just smiled!

Bottom line: Andre showed little class and sportsmanship last night!

iolife , 3/13/10 5:22 PM

I think for the most part it was a fun evening ... might have been a bit friendlier if they'd have played mixed doubles. Pete has always been awkward ... great tennis skills but his charisma ends there. Andre was just trash talking to keep things lively no doubt.
Roger and Rafa were both gracious and seemed to be having a good time. The most important thing was raising the money. Hope something can be done in Miami for Chile.

smr , 3/13/10 5:38 PM

I watched on Eurosport at 3.30pm and they skipped the interesting bit where all the argi bargi took place, so I'm hoping Sky will show the whole thing at 6pm.

I thought they might play a tinny winny bit of Gypsy, but they didn't and no one teased Rafa about it. At least Andre spared Roger and Rafa any back talk for publicly crticising his meth taking.

carrie , 3/13/10 6:12 PM

Justin did tease him about Shakira and he said can we talk about tennis. Justin also asked him when he was going to have any kids. I'm surprised Agassi didn't have any "performance" questions for him. I must say that overall Fed and Nadal are younger but they both had much more class than Agassi and Sampras.

If there is a hit for Chile, I hope somebody can talk to Agassi (if he's even invited). Maybe another format (mixed doubles) or just some different players perhaps. I would guess since it would be in heavily-Hispanic Miami that more Latin American players could be involved.

chr18 , 3/13/10 6:26 PM

FEDistheGOAT , 3/13/10 7:44 PM

could not believe that watching the hitforhaiti, TV cut the "andre/sampras moment? Why? I dont understand. It's been reported all over the place and then this happens! I really enjoyed the whole event though. Martina couldnt stop talking - she was quite funny! but the mens match was great. really enjoyable to watch.those early volleys at 1:1 30/40 - fantastic. and when roger and rafa BOTH did the grunting taking the mic, enjoying the humour, smiling. I think overall, there were some great comments, funny even, from andre, and at the very end, they left as comrades and i loved that. i love it when roger and rafa hug each other. it makes me feel very fluffy inside. i go a bit ga ga. it's just - well - nice.

maxi , 3/13/10 8:10 PM

I was cringing while watching this. It got personal very quickly and made everyone else uncomfortable. I have to say both Sampras and Agassi did not behave well and soured the mood when it should have been a fun match. Agassi talking too much and hitting below the belt and Sampras taking it so seriously and personally. Dreadful stuff from the both of them.

Rafa and Roger looked uneasy and probably felt embarrassed for these so-called icons of the sport. Made me appreciate how wonderful these guys (Fed and Rafa) really are, they conduct themselves with such class on court.

Oh and Carrie, Rafa did get a Shakira question, poor guy. He deflected nicely though. :)

Zooni , 3/13/10 8:42 PM

i wonder how much money was raised?

maxi , 3/13/10 9:17 PM

Reports say it raised $1 million for relief efforts

FEDistheGOAT , 3/13/10 9:37 PM

Justine was the last person I would have expected to mention Gypsy to Rafa.

When I saw Roger and Rafa hug each other so warmly, it made me wonder if they knew how much their fans are at each other's throats.

carrie , 3/13/10 11:23 PM

just listen to yourself carrie - it's YOU that's at everyone's throat. cant you see it? you attacked me yesterday. i was in a&e for hours nursing an injury to my back.

maxi , 3/13/10 11:48 PM

It was Justin Gimelstob not Justine Henin in case you're confused.

chr18 , 3/13/10 11:58 PM

maxi - carrie is not the sole person in the Fed-Nadal wars. And there are such wars, so what she says is correct. She didn't say that she didn't take part in such wars, she just said that its ironic that Roger and Rafa can be so friendly with each other and its usually the total opposite with their fans. I agree, and wish there wasn't so much fighting going on between us. I think you are mixing up what she is saying.

Champion7 , 3/14/10 12:15 AM

champion, i am really not mixing anything up. carrie attacked me yesterday,unnecessarily,after a long while, she apologised which was the right thing to do. her comments about roger are disturbing me. a lot. i have found a link for her which i hope she listens to and learns from. i did say the above would be my last post, but i saw yours. have a nice night champion. sweet name.

maxi , 3/14/10 12:38 AM

chr18, they did not show that bit in the UK, so I just read your post in passing and thought I saw Justine n your post, now it makes sense.

carrie , 3/14/10 1:06 AM

OK, maxi, have a nice night, although its actually mid-morning here:D

Thanks very much.

Champion7 , 3/14/10 1:12 AM

maxi, only you could interprete what I said about Roger's and Rafa's fans to mean that I was attacking anyone in particular. Everyone knows that we are all at each other's throats hammer and tongue, and they are not with each other.

carrie , 3/14/10 1:12 AM

Funny Rafa-Roger had epic matches where they fought like eternal enemies but it's Sampras-Agassi that hate each other LOL...

torres9 , 3/14/10 4:21 AM

LOL @ Roger saying, 'This rivalry is pretty intense,man.. Rafa do something... '

torres9 , 3/14/10 4:29 AM

Federer and Nadal pure class champions,the hug at the end felt so friendly and class

tennislover , 3/14/10 11:47 AM

i cant believe the difference between the first and the second event:the first one was friendly with Roddick and Djoko it was great,it seemed as Agassi was trying to be in the driver seat so badly he could done the same but using manners,Sampras is a quite person not funny one but he is not forcing it on any one the two acted so strangley against each other, there on the court was three legends with a clown, Sampras could easily replied by something like:"heyh what is up meth head" or" are you start to loving tennis " but he is not the kind of people. at some point seemed like Nadal tried to calm Agassi down,too bad Graf didnt teach home some manners i guess some stuff cant be aquired.
When Roger said the line of "Rafa say something" that explains it was no fun being there Rafa was his old self not trying to engage, but the way the two responded after the serve hit Agassi tells you how much they were un comfortable there.i was totaly disappointed from Agassi behavours i was his fan for long time too bad what kind of impact he is making to his fans these days,too bad.

tennislover , 3/14/10 1:26 PM

always respected Pete for his tennis, never for his personality. That was proven tonight...the man is as interesting as yesterday's paper. Agassi was always a character, I always loved him and respected him for all he brought to court, his personality, his character and most of all his tennis.
If tennis was a place for characters like Pete, it would be a very boring game!

bianca , 3/14/10 1:52 PM

It's sometimes get nasty when u start being personal.LOL...

torres9 , 3/14/10 1:56 PM

Pete is more reserved tha your average guy; get over it - it doesn't mean he isn't interesting. He's been pretty engaging in previous exhibitions with a lot of other players - but I'm wondering how anybody didn't notice how Agassi was going nonstop not letting anyone talk. Rafa had to tell him to shut up for a bit; it was getting that tiresome. Pete is normally reserved - I don't see how he was gonna get words in anyway. But Agassi had no business taking that jab you could literally see him seething. The point is, the joke Pete made should have been harmless given it had been done previously over several exhibitions. I'm glad he stopped it there without attacking Agassi in any way.

samprallica , 3/14/10 3:16 PM

bianca, have you read pete's autobiography? if not, i think you should give it a go at it. you might get a sense of why he took the approach that others see as boring. personally i liked his approach and i think he did a smart thing. i prefer that to players talking themselves up and seeking attention and glory. i like the way pete just got on with his business when he was still on tour. each to his own.

homos , 3/14/10 3:21 PM

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