I'm a huge fan of Andre Agassi both on and off the court,
but I couldn't believe his spat with Pete Sampras last week. Andre just
went crazy; he was really out of order.
I don't know if anything has gone on between them in the
last few weeks to provoke it, but Pete made it clear - albeit not publicly -
that he wasn't best pleased with some of the things Andre wrote about him in
his autobiography, particularly the jibes about him being a bad tipper.
So for Andre to come out and so publicly demean Sampras was
plain mean-spirited. It just seemed that
Andre was less than himself, acting in a way not worthy of him.
Did Andre have an agenda? There's no history of needle
between them, either on-court or off-court.
But Andre did not paint a flattering picture of Pete in his
book. It wasn't just the tipping stuff, he also wrote about Pete's approach to
life being a little one-dimensional, and came over as being a rather
uninteresting character who Andre couldn't really relate to.
That's fair enough, of course; but to go into personal
things like Pete not tipping well, and then to bring that out on to court during a charity match... I just thought
'You've lost the plot, Andre'.
I was very surprised - and unimpressed. As I said, I'm a big
fan of Andre's off the court and I thought his book was terrific. I've also
spent some time with him, and I treasure that time - but I thought it was
Because make no mistake, there was a real edge to the
encounter. You could see very clearly that Pete found it difficult to take, yet
I thought he handled it brilliantly. When he hit the serve at Andre he managed
to turn it back into a bit of fun - he knew Andre could get out of the way -
and it really helped defuse the situation.
Would Agassi at his peak have beaten Rafael Nadal? Vote in our latest GOAT poll on the tennis homepage, or take a look at the latest poll results.
Maria Sharapova must be sick to her shoes after the elbow injury that contributed to her losing in Indian Wells.
She has been dogged by problems ever since her comeback, and
even though you hope that this latest injury is just a minor setback, there have been too many. She must be
We'll see what the next few weeks bring, but it's a constant
case of two steps forward, one step back. With her career running in such a
staccato manner it's impossible for her to build any real momentum.
Justine Henin's comeback also seems to be faltering as well
after her early exit in Indian Wells. She's the sort of player who really needs
matches under her belt.
What happened in Australia was terrific but she can't bank
on that happening unless she strings matches together.
It was actually a lot easier for a player like Kim Clijsters
to come back. She hits the ball with such power and is such a naturally
brilliant mover that she slipped straight back into things.
Henin, for all her brilliance, needs her timing to be
perfect - and that only comes from spending hours on court.
Sharapova and Henin's early exits have really hit Indian
Wells, and the women's game in general. With no Venus or Serena Williams, no
Dinara Safina, and now Henin and Sharapova out,
the tournament isn't the showcase it should be.
Everything looked so different for women's tennis after the
Australian Open: the Williams sisters were on song, Henin and Clijsters were
back in action, Sharapova was looking promising after her return from injury -
it looked as if we were set for a vintage season.
That promise seems to be fading fast at the moment; but
let's hope the problems all turn out to be temporary setbacks rather than the
sign of things to come.
Apologies for the technical problem with the voting for our latest Greatest of All Time poll, Andre Agassi v Rafael Nadal. Voting is now open on the tennis homepage, and you can see the latest results here.