On October 9, tennis ace Andre Agassi and wife Steffi Graf hosted the 15th Grand Slam For Children to raise funds for Agassi’s Charitable Foundation’s educational work for underprivileged children. There were performances by Elton John, Jason Mraz, Jennifer Hudson, Rob Thomas, David Foster and Bill Cosby.
Also, a dinner for six with Robin Williams at $100,000 each was auctioned, along with lessons from Metallica drummer that fetched $35,000. A meal and trip for two to India with Freida Pinto for $75,000 was also included. Also up was a swim with Olympian Michael Phelps. In the end $8.5 million had been raised. Since 1995, the Grand Slam has raised nearly $83 million. The funds generated from each year’s auction supports the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy.
Freida is the only Indian actor to have been invited by the couple for their work. “Children across the world deserve the right to education and equal opportunities. Having lived the good life, I feel that it’s even more of a responsibility to campaign for those who are less fortunate,” reasons Freida.
The actor, who is the country’s biggest export in Hollywood today, is kicked about promoting the ‘Indian Experience’. One lucky couple during a week-long stay in India with Frieda, will go on a jungle safari, take elephant rides, stay at a palace and enjoy a bit of Bollywood too. “I get to represent the country, showcase India’s rich culture and that for me is a big high,” says Frieda, who is trying to make time from her schedule for the dinner and seven-day Indian holiday before the year ends.
Quiz her on whether she is planning to pick up the racket and play a match or two with Andre and Steffi and she says, “I did play tennis, but I wasn’t too good. I could never figure out which way the ball was coming towards me from. Before I take on the Grand Slam couple I’ll have to educate myself in the sport and make sure I play it right. If you were to ask me, it would be a bigger high for me to hold a cricket bat with Sachin Tendulkar. He’s a sporting legend too and he’s Indian.”