This week the world responded to the death of Robin Williams at age 63. Williams, in the early stages of Parkinson's disease, battled depression and took his own life. In presumably happier times, at a charity event in 1998, Williams joined fellow comedic actor Billy Crystal and Andre Agassi for a friendly hit at UCLA. Among the hijinks, the actors hiked up their shorts to mimic the likes of John McEnroe, and Crystal donned a baseball mitt to try to "return" a few Agassi serves:
Agassi recently talked to TMZ Sports about losing Williams, a generous donor to and attendee of Agassi's philanthropic events, including his foundation's star-studded annual gala: "Stefanie and I are saddened at the loss of our friend. He was one of the kindest, most generous people we have ever known. ... Our prayers are with his family and closest friends during this very sad and difficult time. Today the world has lost a beautiful soul."
The passing of Williams reminded me of Whitney Houston's own departure from this world, and of her own connection to tennis. It also brought to mind one of my favorite Ernest Hemingway lines: "The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places." That thinking could be applied to both icons.
Whether we ever meet them or, more likely, simply appreciate their performances both live and on screens over the years, it is painful to lose the greats. Robin Williams' vitality, humor, and love for tennis and giving will be sorely missed.
Got a tip or a point to make? Hit me on Twitter at @jonscott9.