March 01, 2011
Pete Sampras defeated Andre Agassi 6-4, 7-5 on Monday night at a charity match in New York's Madison Square Garden. Five thoughts and observations about the match:
Love -- From the looks of it, Agassi wanted to win the match, but Sampras needed to win the match. After last year's debacle at Indian Wells, when Agassi mocked Sampras for being cheap and the two got into an uncomfortable on-court discussion, Sampras appeared to realize that while he'll never be as cool or revered as Agassi, he had the trump card: he was a better tennis player. There was a grand sense of satisfaction on Pete's face Monday night as he worked over Agassi and won in straight sets.
15 -- There wasn't even a hint of Indian Wells at the Garden. Both men realize they acted immaturely that night and were keen not to duplicate it again. There was some frostiness in the air, of course. Sampras wasn't joking in a pre-match interview when he said he wanted to kick Agassi's "[expletive]" but both men played it professionally, said the right things and were gracious in victory and defeat, respectively. There weren't even any passive-aggressive digs, like John McEnroe and Ivan Lendl were taking at one another in the early match.
30 -- Besides a desire not to come across as childish, there were two others reasons things didn't get snippy on Monday. First of all, this match meant something (as much as any charity match between a 39- and 40-year-old can). The incident last year took place during a goofy doubles event at Indian Wells in front of fans in attendance. This was a real exhibition at Madison Square Garden on national television. Second, Agassi and Sampras were wearing microphones last time. As Charlie Sheen has shown in the past 24 hours, somebody with a grudge and a live mic is a dangerous combination.
40 -- Pete can still get up in the air to do his patented jump slam. He may not be as high as he once was (or come to net nearly as often), but you can still see a glimpse of his past greatness:
Love -- Sampras and Agassi played four times in New York during their careers. Sampras won all four.