Saturday, March 13, 2010

Hit for Haiti, Part 2

A couple of hours ago, the tennis stars came out in Indian Wells, California, where the BNP Paribas Open is being currently held, to hold a charity exhibition to raise money for Haiti relief. This is the second time the tennis world has come together this year for Haiti. The first time was during the Australian Open in January as Roger Federer organized a Hit For Haiti exhibition with his fellow players including fellow Grand Slam champions Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams, Andy Roddick, Kim Clijsters, and Novak Djokovic.

Federer and Nadal took part in tonight's festivities as well this time being joined by fellow tennis legends Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf, Lindsay Davenport, and Justine Henin. They all share 94 single Grand Slam championships among themselves. Insane.

Both the men and the women played doubles with the first team to reach 8 in one set winning. The night started off with Henin/Navratilova v. Davenport/Graf with the former team leading for most of the match and finally winning it 8-6. Navratilova was the MVP here as she did most of the talking and played brilliantly. Clearly, she's still a world-class doubles player even now.

The women's match towards the end turned a bit quiet (i.e. boring) and so it was up to the men to bring back the fun and excitement with Federer/Sampras v. Nadal/Agassi. All four men held their serve during the first four games and for the most part it was Agassi and Federer doing most of the talking and ribbing. It was towards the middle when things got just a tiny bit interesting and uncomfortable with Agassi and Sampras exchanging some choice words between one another.

It sort of sucked the fun out of the event even though Nadal and Federer did the best they could to add some levity. In the end, things seemed to have settled down as Sampras/Federer won it 8-6. Sampras and Agassi followed the younger players' example as they hugged at the net showing no hard feelings between them.

$1 million was donated to the charity and many more will be collected from both the fans who showed up live and the fans who watched the exhibition online. Click here to donate now.

Both Federer and Nadal have yet to play their first matches at the BNP Paribas Open. Federer is looking to improve his semifinal results last year as he tries to get his first title since winning the Australian Open back in January while Rafael Nadal is hoping to defend his title after being title-less since May.

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