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By Richard Pagliaro

(March 14, 2010) INDIAN WELLS — Two days
after Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras   transformed "Hit For Haiti" into their own personal sparring session in dispensing some caustic character shots, Roger Federer and Andy Roddick weighed in with their views on the blow-by-blow of the bout.

Roddick wasn't ringside, or courtside, for the feud, but watched the incident on You Tube. While Federer said sharing the court with the feuding foes brought out his paternal instincts.

"I tried to help with the situation.  And now being a father, I thought maybe we have to give both guys like a timeout or something," Federer said with a smile. "We didn't have to go that far.  They weren't that bad, so it was okay."

HitForHaitiHUG


Agassi and Sampras continue to be the talk of the BNP Paribas Open two days after the archrivals' contentious clash during the ninth game of Friday night's Hit For Haiti charity doubles exhibition.

Roddick, who knows both Agassi and Sampras well, wore a slightly amused expression in offering his reaction that some old and intense rivalries never really die
— they just go on the back-burner until competition heats it up all over again.

"I think they would probably both tell you it got away from them a little bit there.  You know, I think all the years of kind of intense competition might have come out a little bit there," Roddick said after advancing to the second round with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Yen-Hsun Lu. "You know, with any great rivalry where you play that long there's going to be a boiling point.  You know, unfortunately, I think we might have seen that the other night...It was a little awkward, yeah."

Those sentiments were shared by Federer, who shared the court with Agassi, Sampras and Rafael Nadal on Friday night.

"I don't think it was that crazy bad, but it was a bit awkward because you didn't know, was it just fun, was it not fun?  What was it, you know?" Federer said after defeating Victor Hanescu, 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-1, tonight. "Sure, you try to loosen up the moment, because for us to play tennis with microphones on is not something we're used to. I mean, I couldn't even talk to Pete after that, you know, because we were having the microphones on.  We have the microphones on, so you're sitting there and you're thinking, what now?  I can't say.  I wish we wouldn't play with the microphones on, to be quite honest.

By now much of the tennis world has seen the replay of the two Grand Slam champions' on-court quarrel.

Sampras imitated Agassis'
trademark pigeon-toed shuffle across the court prompting Agassi to retaliate with what he called his own impression of Sampras. Agassi turned his pockets inside out in a reference to the assertion he made in his memoir, "Open", that Sampras was a  tight wad who once tipped a Palm Springs valet exactly $1 for pulling his car up at a restaurant. 

Sampras smiled at the gesture, but clearly was not amused, saying "You got personal with me." Agassi pressed the issue in pushing his rivals emotional buttons a bit.

"Oh it's all fun and games until someone gets hurt huh?" Agassi said. "It's better than being a valet when you pull up.  It's not personal. No everyone knows it already. It ain't personal Pete."

That acrid exchange created a brief bit of tension and an awkward atmosphere when Sampras sent a serve right at Agassi's body.

At that moment, Hit For Haiti, became hit out at the opposition.

Federer tried to make light of the situation suggesting that perhaps his rivalry with Nadal would someday percolate with a similar degree of personal intensity.

"Toward the end it's gonna get fierce with me and Rafa so I'm looking forward to that part of the rivalry," Federer said jokingly on Friday night.


Reflecting on the nature of rivalries in an intense one-on-one sport, Federer said a variety of factors — personality, nationality, age and experience
— can influence the intesnity of a rivalry.

"Look, every rivalry is very different, you know.  Thank God they are, otherwise it would be boring again," Federer said. "And obviously we're (Federer and Nadal) not from the same country, so that changes many dynamics in a rivalry.  Then again, we're not the same age, so that changes again. So obviously (Nadal) came up and always had very big respect for me, and me the same for any player out on tour.

"Then we played on so many occasions and on so many tough and heated moments we came out on top, and you know, I think we respected each other immensely and actually almost appreciated the other guy for being there and pushing, you know, you to become a better player, and I guess at times even a better person, you know."






 

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