March 15, 2010

A true rivalry

I miss Agassi-Sampras.  Their rivalry was (apparently is) one of the best that we've seen in any sport in my lifetime, and this weekend it took a slightly nasty turn.

The video above shows a brief bit of the exchange during a charity match, but the linked ESPN article goes into a bunch more detail about what was said and why.

Check it out and give your opinion - was Agassi taking a cheap shot?

'Cause I kind of think so.


achilles3 said...

I don't think it was a cheap shot (considering the moment)
Additionally poor tippers should be blasted without mercy. Can't stand going out with poor tippers.
I liked Sampras hitting him with the serve-it was funny. But if anything was cheap it was that.

Matt said...

Maybe it was a low blow, but it was funny and not out of character. And Sampras' decision to fire a serve at him was his own. I enjoyed this, although I think it would've been a little awkward to be in the arena with them at that particular moment.

Smamy said...

1) Sampras imitating Agassi's walk, etc. Funny and yet still classy. Not personal. He didn't ask him if he needed to take a break to get some meth before they continued. It's a personality quirk, it's funny.

2) Agassi making fun of Sampras as a cheap tipper. Low blow. No class. Especially when they are supposed to be doing a benefit to help raise money for Haiti. Even if he is a bad tipper, at least he is voluneering his time to try to raise money for a good cause. If this came up in a match, call it trash talking. Fine. In a charity event, it is classless.

3) Sampras sending a bean ball. In a match, fine. At a charity event....classless. Kids used to look up to these guys. Cross off a couple of more athletes that should never be looked up to. Sad really.

I would not invite either of them to come back to a USTA event. As punishment for this embarrasment, I would make them sit through the rest of the charity event and this tournament holding hands.

Ame said...

I have to say I agree with Smamy's comments. Both men took cheap shots at different times. If this was said during a USTA event they would have been double defaulted (side note this is actually an option I have as a tourney director). While both men have said and done things at different times, they both retired as beloved and looked up to by fans. This exchange made both players look bad.

PHSChemGuy said...

My general thoughts - kind of in response to everybody...

Sampras's mocking of Andre's playing style (and duck walk) was entirely fair game.

Andre's mocking of Sampras's poor tipping was a cheap shot. That's off-court stuff, and it doesn't fit in a charity setting like that.

Pete's serve back at Andre might've been okay - depends on how hard he went at Andre and where he was aiming. If it was vaguely at Andre and three-qaurter speed, that's fair game. If it was way faster and at the head or something, that's not cool.

Andre has always been very much willing to air his grievances in public where as Pete has been very, very private. The comparison of their (auto)biographies seems very true to who they each are - Andre revealed things that he didn't need to reveal because he wanted to get the stories out there; Pete told tales about how he became a champion without revealing much of anything about himself that he didn't need to say.

I'm guessing it really pissed Pete off that Andre brought up the tipping thing - both in the book and especially on court. Pete's private, and his quote (something like 'I was young and didn't know about tipping or valets') seemed very revealing to me that he understood that he has learned from that event and feels that it was far enough in the past to not talk about it.

Achilles - I agree that poor tipping is bad behavior, but I also know people who are poor tippers because their parents tipped 5% or 10%, so tat's how they learned. Over time, some of them have become much more generous. I don't think it was fair of Andre to air that story again in such a light-hearted event.

Matt - I'm guessing it was very awkward - Roger's quote sounded very much like that.

Smamy - I agree completely with points 1&2. #3, I don't know. Depends on how hard Pete wailed the serve. A soft lob in the direction could be a joke, but a full out serve is poor form, agreed.

Ame - the regulations of the USTA are vastly different from the charity event. At charity events, you get people switching partners, crossing the net in jest, doing impressions with each other. Everybody's miked - I know there were lots of times I'm happy I wasn't miked on court.