In response to ongoing criticism from his comments made during the “Hit For Haiti” charity event at the BNP Paribas Open, Andre Agassi issued a video apology along with commenting yet again that he has reached out to Pete Sampras to set things straight. What appears to be lost in all the back and forth analysis of what was said by both players is the fact that the event was set up for controversy before it even started.
As the Australian Open “Hit For Haiti” was set up in a day, it allowed for everyone involved to come in with no expectations, hence the good natured and entertaining event that ensued. “Hit For Haiti” Indian Wells was the opposite. Although an exhibition, expectations were ramped up by promoters saying that great shots would be made and great chemistry would exist among all four players.
But this was not a tennis match, especially with microphones involved. This was a show. And when you’ve got Roger Federer, who’s charismatic but a better commentator, Rafael Nadal, who doesn’t prefer to speak English off the cuff, and then Pete Sampras who doesn’t like to talk — at all — who’s going to keep the crowd entertained? Bingo. The “showman” from Las Vegas.
Although Agassi should not have made comments about Sampras’ tipping habits as he did in his book “Open”, Sampras is as much to blame for making comments about Agassi’s bald head to begin with then going on with the strange imitation of Agassi’s walk, as if wanting Agassi to take the bait and say something else. Sampras, who just yesterday commented about Agassi’s comments, that “It makes our relationship uncomfortable now. It saddens me.” appears not to realize that it takes two to make a scene. Any acting coach will tell you that.
From a PR standpoint, both men should obviously end this discussion and move on. From a tennis standpoint, it shows still how, the media, especially in America, still really crave a less than friendly rivalry from the sport’s top stars as it makes for better copy (obviously) and, especially with Agassi/Sampras, they can still relive the glory days of when American tennis dominated the world and the headlines.
Click here to watch Agassi’s apology. (FYI you may need to refresh your browser as sometimes the ATP video takes a minute to get going).