U.S. Open

That Sampras-Agassi match tonight was about as good as modern tennis gets. Not quite the subtlety of a Borg Mcenroe match, but today's game is power, and in that game, baseline winners and aces are common. As a tennis fan, you have to enjoy compressed moments of power. Aesthetically, it lacks the same drama as a long rally in the olden days. The opponent is merely a prop, standing there helpless as one of Sampras' serves flies by to bounce off the back wall, or as Agassi bends at the knees, rotates, and shoots a groundstroke that zips about two inches above the net and ends up in the back corner of the court.
The game also appears more violent. With modern rackets permitting greater power and spin, and the advent of shots like the Western forehand which permit more controlled application of power and to the ball, players attack the ball with short, violent motions rather than the long, picturesque strokes you picture in old black and white tennis videos in which aristocrats played in sweaters and slacks, barely breaking a sweat.
Sampras has many more grand slams than Agassi, yet I can't shake the feeling that Sampras is always the underdog out there. Sampras has the classic game, the long strokes and serve and volley game of the old school. The one-handed backhand, the long, elegant service motion. A lot of power, a great all court game. But he doesn't have the fearsome face of a guy who wants to dominate his opponent. It is a tragic face, and you sense that he is physically fragile, that heat and long rallies will break him down.
Agassi, on the other hand, is the epitome of the modern day tennis player. Power groundstroke game. A freak of nature with hand eye coordination that allows him to hit balls on the rise, to do all sorts of things normal people are taught not to do, like volley with full swings. He rarely seems physically fragile. It's always a miracle to me when Sampras beats him. Even when Agassi loses, it doesn't move me. It always feels as if Sampras has survived Agassi's game, rather than defeated him. Andre seems indomitable, and when he loses he doesn't mope. He just shrugs it off, compliments his opponent (though it never sounds sincere; it feels like he's implying his opponent was lucky), and trudges off, as if he has enough energy to go another few sets.
Sampras has a ton of game, and the trophy prom-queen wife, but it seems like he still lacks confidence. I root for him because of his one-handed backhand, his classic style. Not too many play like him today. All those two-fisted backhand bombers in the game today remind me of Suzuki-taught robot violinist hordes I used to encounter at recitals.
The most tragic player out there, to me, is Monica Seles. Forget Capriati and her teen angst. Seles was dominating the tennis world, and then some psychotic runs out on the court and stabs her. She's never been the same. To lose out on a great career to some unbelievable incident like that--it's an absurd tragedy. No hubris, as in some Greek play. Unfortunately, while she was rehabilitating her mind and body, folks like the Williams sisters came along. Venus has serious game. I'll be surprised if she loses.