Hit for Haiti
by James Handal

HIT FOR HAITI, presented by Oracle, was a great way to end the day's proceedings at the BNP PARIBAS OPEN on Friday, March 12, 2010. Starting at 7 p.m., there was a special pre-match ceremony featuring performances by the Palm Springs marching band honoring veterans, military personnel, fireman, and police officers. U.S. Marines from 29 Palms Marine Corps Base carried a huge American flag onto the court where it was displayed across the entire tennis court. Grammy Award winning singer Tony Bennett sang for the crowd. It was a great night, unprecedented because it was the first sold out event in the history of the Indian Wells Tennis Stadium.

The night featured two entertaining exhibitions. The women's match had great play by current player, Justine Henin and great legends, Martina Navratilova, Stephanie Graf and Lindsay Davenport. Together, the women's doubles teams represented fifty Grand Slam titles. During the women's match, Navratilova spoke frequently. Navratilova and Henin won in an 8 game pro set with a score of 8-6.

The men's doubles teams featured Roger Federer and Pete Sampras vs. Rafael Nadal and Andre Agassi. The men's doubles teams represented forty-four Grand Slam titles. The men's match was very entertaining with Andre Agassi engaging the crowd with fun comments. There was a little tension in the match when Sampras imitated the way Agassi walks and then Agassi suggested that Sampras is cheap and does not leave good tips. Federer and Sampras won 8 to 6.

Thanks to the efforts of these eight great tennis players, BNP PARIBAS OPEN owner, Larry Ellison, presented the Riverside County American Red Cross with a $1 million check for the Haiti Relief Efforts.

Larry Ellison flanked by legends presents $1 million check for Haiti.