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Frances Allen’s Desert Roundup—Paribas Tournament Director Gets By With A Little Help From His Friends

Novak Djokovic
Rafael Nadal

Posted Friday, March 22, 2019 - 3:23 pm

It was not the rain that marred the last weekend of the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells. The moisture was from the tears of disappointed tennis fans, who had been looking forward to seeing old champions replay old matches on their aces-filled journey to remain within the group of top-five tennis champions in the world.

But it was not to be. Ranked No. 1 in the world, Novak Djokovic, was eliminated in a relatively early (for him) match.

Then there was Rafael Nadal who withdrew for physical reasons, thereby defeating hopes for a semi-final match against fourth-seed Roger Federer.

But Federer wasn’t going anywhere; he was defeated in the semis.

What to do? All the marquee players were out of the match. That’s when it pays to have friends as Tournament Director Tommy Haas found out. Haas had an idea. He called on friends John McEnroe, Pete Sampras and Novak Djokovic to meet him on Center Court for a game of doubles. All that was missing was a chair umpire and comedian Jon Lovitz.

It was as if a good fairy waived her wand over Center Court. McEnroe still had his touch at the net, and Sampras still showed why he had the best serve in the game.

What did the tickets for their match cost? They were priceless.

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