03-29-2006, 11:35 PM
U.S. having trouble finding its sport

Scripps Howard News Service

Curiosity prompts an inquiry into beach volleyball, it being one of the few native games where we might still be the best. How, I wondered, is the good old US of A doing at volleyball?

Alas, I must report that, like baseball, like basketball, we are stiffs, slugs, also-rans. We no longer rule a game we invented. We are only No. 5 in volleyball. Hey, we are No. 5 in soccer. I said soccer.

Just to review. Baseball, our national pastime, belongs to Japan.

Basketball. Our game. Belongs to Argentina. The MVP is Canadian. The next MVP will be German. The best player might be Chinese.

Ice hockey. Their game but played here. Belongs to Sweden. Or Finland. Only they know the difference.

And Lance Armstrong has quit sticking it to the French for us. The next big bike guy from those who know is from Kazakhstan, or one of those Stans. Maybe his name is Stan. After Lance, it does not matter.

The America's Cup, named after us, an ocean boat race prize we did not even know we had until we lost it, well, the America's Cup belongs to Switzerland. Switzerland.

There is not even an ocean in Switzerland.

We are, speaking strictly of sports, the third world. Or the fifth.

The Williams sisters seem to have other things to do than play tennis, Andre Agassi might be finally finished and _ here's Switzerland again _ Roger Federer is taking dead aim at Pete Sampras' record.

We do still have, of course, Tiger Woods. And we will spring a Ben Curtis and a Todd Hamilton every so often at the British Open. But the Ryder Cup is parked in a pub somewhere, full of Guinness or pink gin, probably.

Piled up like this, it can be a bit discouraging. Take baseball. Sure, we have the best player, Alex Rodriguez, one generation removed, but there was Cuba and Japan playing for the world title, or a world title anyhow, the only world title up for grabs.

The Cubans boasted that they did it for love and the Japanese _ OK, mostly Ichiro _ complained that we spit too much and our dugouts are dirty.

But is there great indignity to all of this indignity? Nope. Here's how we see it. That's the way baseball should be played. Long ball, schmong ball. What did that get us but Barry Bonds and all his baggage?

Let's start hitting behind the runner again and appreciating the tense drama of a 2-1 ballgame. Even beaten, what we are saying is we deserve it.

And basketball. Do we really think that Mike Krzyzewski or Jerry Colangelo is going get us back where we belong, in front of the Italians?

Athens is still too fresh a wound to believe that. Dream Team? Not unless you count sleepwalking. Kobe Bryant to the rescue. And Shane Battier. And as I said, the best players are Canadian, German and Chinese.

Ice hockey. Sure, I guess, strictly speaking the greatest trophy in the game, Lord Stanley's Cup, is in Tampa, Fla., getting to rest there an extra year.

But the most recent international dust-up had us whining about having to make our own airline reservations, while Teemu Selanne was losing teeth and Peter Forsberg was playing on one leg.

I don't know how the world can have such a low opinion of us when we are always helping them up to top of the awards podium.

It can't be this bad, can it? Scanning the unofficial list of international competitions the conclusion is, to reprise Jimmy Buffett, worse than I had feared.

Of the 40 or so world records in track and field, male Americans hold four, two by Michael Johnson, and none set in this century.

The last significant international team game we won would be, what? The 2000 Olympic basketball gold medal. Barely. Our women softballers are so good that the Olympics won't let them play anymore. Even when we win, we lose.

The Boston Marathon is the property of Kenyans and Ethiopians, the Indianapolis 500 was won by an Englishman and the Kentucky Derby favorite could be a horse owned by a Dubai sheik.

This is, I suppose, what we get for playing games beyond our borders. Or playing games with people who care more about our games than we do. So thank goodness we still have football, or American football as it is known everywhere but America.

The lesson is here. Let no one challenge the Grey Cup winner to meet the Super Bowl winner just for the money. And may the NFL's Europe gimmick remain just some sort of minor league training camp.

We are this close to having things measured metrically and the next great quarterback eating crepes instead of beef.

I'm not kidding. :haha: :haha: :haha:

(Contact Bernie Lincicome of the Rocky Mountain News at

03-30-2006, 09:50 PM

Old-time events help shape all-time greats
Before they became among the best their sports had ever seen, Pete Sampras and Tiger Woods were Southern California teenagers performing in old, venerable tournaments.

By Steve Pratt, Times Staff Writer
March 30, 2006

Before they became among the best their sports had ever seen, Pete Sampras and Tiger Woods were Southern California teenagers performing in old, venerable tournaments that had been around since the turn of the 20th century.

Before the first Rose Bowl was played in Pasadena in 1902, tennis was played in Ojai. Before the first Santa Anita Handicap was run in 1935, golf was played at country clubs all around Los Angeles. And before the CIF State track meet started in 1915, Carpinteria played host to hosted its first track meet. Three of the oldest events in Southern California - the Ojai Valley Tennis Tournament, the Southern California Golf Assn. Amateur Championships, and the Russell Cup Track Meet - remain vibrant and thriving competitions after all these years.

Ojai Valley Tennis Tournament

First tournament: 1896

In 2000, Ojai Valley Tennis Club officials were scrambling to find names of players who had competed in Ojai and gone on to win a singles or doubles championship in a Grand Slam tournament. The names of those players would be displayed on a Wall of Fame at the entrance to Libbey Park, site of the original Ojai tournament started in 1896 by William Thacher.

Most knew the stories of Bill Tilden sleeping under the Ojai oak trees, of Jack Kramer snacking on cookies and orange juice after losing all his money in an all-night poker game, of a pig-tailed Tracy Austin winning the women's open division at 14, three months before becoming one of the youngest players to compete at Wimbledon.

But no one remembered anything about the game's all-time winningest player, Pete Sampras, playing Ojai. Sampras did play at Ojai and was one of 79 honored during that year's 100th tournament celebration. Sampras won 14 Grand Slam titles during his career, but played Ojai only as a junior.

The last weekend in April, more than 1,600 players in 37 divisions will make the trek to the small town 80 miles northwest of Los Angeles to play in the nation's oldest tournament held at one location.

"The intimate setting, the 500 volunteers. The whole community comes out for tennis in Ojai," said tournament official Sam Eaton.

"That's what makes Ojai so great. We've been doing the same thing for 106 years. Everybody knows that things don't change at Ojai."

Southern California Golf Assn. Amateur Championships

First tournament: 1900

There's a constant reminder hanging on the wall at the Hacienda Golf Club pro shop of the July day in 1994 when an 18-year-old Tiger Woods broke the Southern California Golf Assn. Amateur Championship record for low score in a round.

Andy Thuney, the head professional at Hacienda, sees Woods' signed scorecard every day he works.

"It's right there on the wall," said Thuney, who watched Woods shoot a 62 to shatter the course record by four strokes and break the tournament record by two.

"There was a small gallery watching him," Thuney said. "He hit some incredible shots.

"He was a phenom then just like he's a phenom now."

That was the only time the Cypress native - who has won 10 major championships as a professional - would play the tournament the SCGA bills as the "nation's second oldest, continuously contested amateur golf championship."

Begun in 1900, a year after a similar tournament in Utah, the SCGA Amateur has named a champion each year for the last 106 years.

"It's just a great tournament with a lot of history," said Bob Thomas, senior director of communications for the SCGA.

"We've had some top players who have won it, but even others who haven't, including guys like Craig Stadler, Corey Pavin, Scott Simpson and Mark O'Meara who all have won major championships as professionals."

Carpinteria's Russell Cup Track Meet

First meet: 1914

Van Latham has not been able to find an older high school track meet in California than Carpinteria High's Russell Cup. The Russell Cup predates the California CIF State meet by one year. "We'll claim it as the oldest until we're proven wrong," said Latham, the longtime Carpinteria track and field coach and Russell Cup meet director.

In 1913, Carpinteria Principal Francis Figg-Hoblyn was looking for something more for his students besides the standard foot races held at the end of each school year. He invited five schools to compete in a track meet and the next year a cup was donated by local athletic enthusiast Howland Shaw Russell (marking 1914 officially as the first year of the meet). It was decided then that a silver cup donated by Russell would be given to the school that won the track meet three times.

Before World War I, the Russell Cup attracted the best track and field programs around with large, powerhouse schools such as Long Beach Wilson, Compton and Glendale competing. After World War II, the meet contracted and in recent years has served as a small-school meet. Six future Olympians have competed in the Russell Cup, including Mike Larrabee of Ventura High, a two-time gold-medal winning sprinter from the 1964 Tokyo Games, and Dave Laut of Oxnard Santa Clara, a shotput bronze medalist in the 1984 Los Angeles Games. Allyson Felix, a silver medalist in the 200 meters at the 2004 Athens Olympics, starred in the Russell Cup while attending L.A. Baptist.

The Russell Cup was an all-male event until 1960. This year's April 15 meet will showcase the top small school talent from around the state.

04-04-2006, 08:06 PM

The Mark Of A Winner

What separates winning organisations from the others. Noel Tichy has spent 25 years studying both winners and losers from the inside out for an answer.

Not surprising, he found that winning organisations share certain financial attributes. Several companies have been setting new records for financial performance, enriching shareholders, building communities, and providing greater opportunities for employees.

Men and women who personally and methodically nurture the development of other leaders at all levels of the organisation lead these companies.

Even if you, as a leader, are smart enough to anticipate and prepare for massive economic and social shifts, you cannot respond to the ground-level demands of the moment without the energy, commitment, and ability of people throughout the organisation.

Effective leaders recognise that the ultimate test of leadership is sustained success, which demands the constant cultivation of future leaders.

This has important implications for the work you do every day. For one thing, all the money your organisation invests in leadership development means little without an equal investment of your own time and effort.

Yet the benefits of investing your time will accrue to you as well as to your organisation. If long-term success requires more leaders at more levels than your competitors, then teaching, coaching, and cultivating others become a strategic imperative for senior executives.

Three keys for learning

The ability to develop leaders: According to Tichy, this requires three things namely, a teachable point of view, a story for your organisation, and a well-defined methodology for teaching and coaching.

Teachable point of view.

To succeed as a leader you must be able to articulate a defining position for your organisation. You must be able to talk clearly and convincingly about who you are, why you exist, and how you operate.

This means you need to have ideas on products, services, distribution channels, customers, and growth. These ideas need to be supported by a value system that the leader articulates, exemplifies, and enforces.

But you also need something Tichy calls e-cubed: emotional energy and edge. Winning leaders seem to naturally generate positive emotional energy in others.

They also have the edge to face reality and make tough yes-or-no decisions.

That is your unique burden not to call in consultants or convene a task force, but at crucial moments, when forced to act quickly, to make the difficult choices only you can make.

It often makes you the most unpopular person in the organisation, that is why those who need to be liked are seldom effective leaders, at least not during the times of crisis.

But leadership is the ability to see things as they really are and to mobilise an appropriate response.

You can only make those decisions and engender that response if you have clear ideas and values.

All three components of leadership good ideas, appropriate values, positive energy and edge are part of the package you present to those you hope to develop.

Living stories

The basic cognitive form in which people organise their thinking is the narrative story. Individuals, families, organisations, communities, and nations all have tales that help them make sense of themselves and the world.

There are three kinds of stories that leaders can tell. There is the “who I am story” in which leaders describe themselves.

There is the “who are we story”, in which you articulate for your constituents what their identity is. But the most important leadership tale is the “where we are going” story.

“I Have a Dream” speech that Martin Luther King delivered mobilised energy around powerful images of social equality of black and white children holding hands in a transformed world.

Winning business leaders use the power of storytelling as effectively as most gifted public leaders. Dramatic storytelling is the way people learn from, and connect with, one another.

Teaching methodology

To be a great leader you have to be a great learner. Most effective teachers and leaders will tell you that they grow as much as those they teach and lead.

The process of teaching can be quite simple; it starts with having a conscious system for interacting with people.

You must be methodical but not mechanical in your approach to teaching. To make a difference, you must have the self-confidence to be vulnerable to others; you need to share your mistakes and doubts as well as your accomplishments.

Learning to teach

Articulating your ideas and values, developing a teachable point of view, and developing stories that bring your views to life are all learnable skills.

The current conventional wisdom in leadership development programmes is to develop a set of competencies for what good leadership is and then figure out a way to develop people around those competencies.

At the end of the day the competencies that get developed in these programmes look similar having integrity, building trust, demonstrating competence, knowing how to overcome resistance, etc.

What is missing is the leaders themselves teaching colleagues, not leaving the teaching to others or talking about somebody else’s values.

People want their leader to look them in the eyes and say: ‘Here is where our company is going and here is what we need from leaders in order to get there’.

Practise what you teach

The military has understood this for years. Soldiers will follow a general even to their peril because such leaders have credibility.

The credibility comes from living their personal ideas and values and bringing to life the story of where the group was heading.

Religious institutions have been clear on this approach to pastoral training. Medical educators know that you cannot put a professor in the operating room to demonstrate surgical technique.

You need someone who has hands-on expertise, credibility, and a teachable point of view about how to develop other capabilities.

Making training pay

Most leadership training springs from the question, “Are leaders born or made?” and is designed to prove that the latter is the correct answer.

It is an age-old, and essentially pointless, debate.

It is like asking whether athletes are made or born. The answer is obviously both.

With coaching, commitment, hard work, perhaps any group of people could improve their ability to play tennis, golf, or football.

There are not many, however, who are going to be Pete Sampras, Tiger Woods, or Michael Essien.

It is the same with leadership.

Any organisation that takes the time to get more leadership out of people is going to be far ahead of its competitors.

Are all managers candidates for the top job? Of course not. But they can be a lot better than they are now.

We can all sharpen our ideas and better articulate our values and improve our capacity for making yes-no decisions.

So it is worth the effort to develop everybody.

Losing organisations make the mistake of handicapping their field of potential leaders and investing their training and development resources only in those they think will go the farthest.

Inevitably, they pass over a lot of talent. Winning organisations look at broad leadership skills, not just success with particular projects.

Most important, they continue to invest in the development of everyone else, including those they do not expect to rise to the top.

Leaders who invest themselves personally in the process of developing future leaders are also building the most precious of organisational assets.

The long-term success of leaders cannot be measured by whether they win today or tomorrow.

The measure of their success will be whether or not their company is still winning a decade from now, when a new generation of leaders has taken over.

04-11-2006, 10:14 PM
Posted on Tue, Apr. 11, 2006

Slow surface will give Russian hosts edge over Roddick, Blake

South Florida Sun-Sentinel

You can bet the last wristband in your tennis bag that the Russians are going to host their semifinal Davis Cup competition with the United States indoors on red clay, and it wouldn't be surprising if they brought it back to the site of one of their greatest embarrassments.

It was in December 1995, in the final at Olympic Stadium in Moscow, that Pete Sampras, cramping at the end of his first-day singles win over Andrei Chesnokov, came back to win the doubles with Todd Martin and thrash Yevgeny Kafelnikov in the deciding match on Day 3.

On clay.

This was Sampras' finest performance on his worst surface, better than in reaching the semifinals of the French in 1996, and wouldn't the Russians enjoy diluting the memory of that blown opportunity with a victory that would send them into another final.

Dean Goldfine, filling in as captain of the U.S. team while Patrick McEnroe remains in New York with his wife, who is due to deliver this week, correctly pointed out after the triumph over Chile that clay is not the Russians' best surface.

But when you pick a surface for a Davis Cup tie, you're not just looking for what's best for your players but what hinders your opposition.

And while Marat Safin (assuming he's fully fit again by the semifinals in September) has won both his Grand Slams on hardcourt, he's also an accomplished clay courter who (a) trained as a junior in Spain, (b) has reached the semis at the French and © has a 98-55 career record on dirt.

Combine him with Nikolay Davydenko, whose rise to the top 10 in 2005 was built largely on clay. Last year: Semis at Barcelona, semis at Hamburg, title at St. Poelten and semis at the French Open, where he lost a five-setter to Mariano Puerta, who has since been suspended after testing positive for prohibited drugs.

The Russian will have a clear singles edge on red clay over Andy Roddick and James Blake.



Any question now about Mardy Fish's decision to play hardcourt Challengers in the United States instead of qualifying on red clay in Europe? Fully recovered from wrist surgery, he won at Tallahassee over the weekend and got a 49-spot bump in the rankings to No. 212. At the very least, that puts him into the qualifying of the French Open. The ranking cut-off is April 23, so he's not going to reach No. 110, which is about what he would need to get straight in. . . .

Could Marcelo Rios be mapping a comeback to the ATP tour at age 30? He's come out of retirement to win back-to-back senior events in Europe, and he's dominating Pat Cash and Thomas Muster, the best two players on that swing. Even better, he seems to have lost that moody, annoying personality. . . . .

It's going to be a long way back for Albert Costa, who decided against retiring after the 2005 season, and who has now lost seven straight (including three Challenger matches). He was beaten in the opening round at Valencia on Monday by the unknown but rapidly rising Boris Pashanski of Serbia/Montenegro. Nevertheless, Costa is likely to get a wild card into the French Open after winning the tournament in 2002. . . .

Mark the name Pashanski. He won five Challengers and reached the final of four others in 2005, moving from No. 255 at the start of the season to No. 58 this week. He's probably the only professional tennis player living on the island of Malta. . . .

The final numbers on electronic line calling at the Nasdaq: 32 for 84 (38 percent) for the men and 21 for 77 (27.2 percent) for the women. And, no, I don't have an explanation for the difference. . . .

It was a very disappointing first Davis Cup tie in Glasgow over the weekend. The Lawn Tennis Association wanted the time in Scotland because Britain's new hope, 18-year-old Andy Murray, is a Scot. But he sprained his ankle at the Nasdaq and could play only doubles, and lost.

04-11-2006, 10:30 PM
Posted on Tue, Apr. 11, 2006

Quiet opener for Marlins


What South Florida sports fans are talking about
Random Evidence of a Cluttered Blog

The Marlins, with only 5,000 season-ticket holders, are facing a home-opening crowd of fewer than 30,000 today -- slightly more, if you count the vultures dressed as San Antonio politicians.

The attendance-shy franchise might be getting desperate for marketing ideas. Cannot confirm the Marlins are planning an ad campaign aimed at fans with the rallying cry, ``Lead the majors in elbow room!''

Also wondering about the appropriateness of the first scheduled promotional give-away: First 10,000 Fans Get Two Free Passes to The Alamo.

Not much is expected of the team with both the lowest payroll and youngest roster by far, including 11 rookies. To give you an idea of the team's youth, most Marlins players will be dropped off at Opening Day today by their moms.

• In other baseball news, because of the Yankees' 2-4 record, George Steinbrenner has decided to buy the 2006 season and start it over.

• After a late-season tease, the Panthers again were eliminated from NHL playoff contention. Or did that go without saying?

• Brett Favre called a news conference to announce he was putting off his decision whether to retire. Favre is undecided on his next news conference, but might change his mind.

• UM's spring football game is Saturday. In what might be a positive sign for coach Larry Coker, the Hurricanes are a heavy favorite.

• Dolphins Stadium has dropped the ''s'' from its name and will now be known as Dolphins Tadium. The club also revealed a new corporate logo featuring a more sleek dolphin, albeit one without discernable eyes. The blind dolphin may or may not be intended to reflect the Wannstedt era.

• Saw this page 1A Herald headline Monday -- Leftist leading Round 1 of vote in Peru -- and I'm thinking, ``Man, that Phil Mickelson really is popular.''

• I thought all of that Masters chatter about the lengthening of Augusta was much ado about nothing. That's before I noticed the 18th green was in South Carolina.

• Sports Illustrated this fall will begin publishing a Chinese edition, increasing by a potential 1 billion the number of readers who don't like Rick Reilly.

• Pete Sampras has come out of retirement and will play occasional exhibitions after deciding the sport needed less personality.

• Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova have criticized Serena Williams' lack of devotion to tennis. Based on what I've seen of Serena lately, perhaps Jenny Craig should add her voice.

• The South Florida media defeated Gulfstream jockeys in a charity softball game. The losing team played small ball.

• State Rep. Ralph Arza (Republican-Hialeah) has proposed legislation requiring St. Thomas and Chaminade-Madonna to renew their high school football rivalry, the strongest indication yet that every important issue has been resolved and therefore we don't need politicians.

• President Bush threw out the ceremonial first pitch on Opening Day in Cincinnati. Security was exceptionally tight after Secret Service received a report that Vice President Cheney might be in the area.

• Retired-for-now Roger Clemens has revealed he applied Icy Hot balm to his private parts before pitching to make him agitated. To mind comes the phrase ``too much information.''

• One of the steroids Barry Bonds is accused of taking is used as a woman's fertility drug. You know in that spring training skit when he dressed up as Paula Abdul? That was no costume.

• Baseball has launched an official investigation into Bonds, according to MLB's Office of Face-Saving Yet Ultimately Pointless Probes.

• Meantime, Bonds has not acknowledged his steroid use on his new ESPN show. Despite that, they're calling it a reality series.

• Joe Dumars has been elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame, which experts say is proof the Hall admits way too many people.

• Former Brazilian soccer stars Romario, 40, and Zinho, 38, are set to debut this weekend for Miami FC. Suggested team marketing slogan: ``Party Like It's 1994.''

• Mike Tyson has been refused a residency permit by the city of Luodian, China, the latest indication that Chinese are smarter than Americans.

• NFL teams voted to curtail touchdown celebrations by penalizing the use of props. Somewhere, Chad Johnson is on the phone, canceling delivery of those rented circus elephants.

• Ex-49ers coach Red Hickey has died at 89. Hickey was known for inventing the shotgun formation and for being teased a lot growing up.

• Parting thought: Marlins president David Samson recently spent $5,000 at a Make-a-Wish auction for a package that included dinner for 40. That means every season-ticket holder eats for free!

Catch Greg Cote's Random Evidence of a Cluttered Blog daily at

04-14-2006, 10:17 PM
April 13, 2006

Athletes vs. students

So I’ve decided that there’s nothing really exciting going on in the sports world right now, at least nothing that anyone is getting excited over. As I went through the past couple of weeks in sports, I found some highlights here and there, such as the return of tennis great Pete Sampras or the Cinderella run of Boston College being cut short in the last leg of the Frozen Four. Also, there is the return of the basketball magician Shawn Kemp.

Quite honestly, however, the only thing of any real significance fueling controversy in the sports world right now is the Duke lacrosse team scandal.

After a highly successful season in which they fell to Johns Hopkins in the Division I lacrosse championship, members of the Duke lacrosse team have been accused of sexually assaulting and beating an exotic dancer at a party on March 13 thrown by the some of the lacrosse team members. Since the allegations, there hasn’t been any definitive evidence against the lacrosse team, and on Monday it was announced that no DNA matches have been found linking the players to the crime. Regardless, the team has had their season cancelled, their head coach resign and their integrity decimated.

Yet, given all of this unproven depravity, there is a larger issue at hand that indirectly ties to collegiate athletics. I know that the Duke scandal hasn’t been proven, but let’s just hypothetically say that something of the sort was proven to have happened.

The matter applies not only to the Duke lacrosse team, nor any of its other teams, nor even Duke specifically. We’re talking about NCAA athletes that attend schools on full scholarships. Now before I go on, don’t even try to take this out of context and assume that I’m saying this of all athletes or of all athletes on full scholarships. Rather, let’s take this current example as an opportunity to reflect on the dynamics of the collegiate athletic system.

Some students go to school and use their athletic prowess to pay their way through. I don’t find anything blatantly immoral about this. There’s nothing wrong about using your talents and the system to your advantage. But then there are others that go to school to play sports and nothing more. In some of these situations, there’s an apparent lack of responsibility among players because there are no set expectations placed upon the athletes, besides going to practice and playing in games. Even then, there shouldn’t be a problem, so long as the athletes don’t go around making stupid decisions that hurt the reputation of the school.

While we would like to think that this lack of expectations wouldn’t be overly abused, I don’t think it would be a stretch to say that stuff like this probably happens more than we think it does. We just rarely ever hear about it. The extent of irresponsibility only grows out of control when scholarship athletes aren’t consistently held accountable for their actions. Whether they think about it or not, these athletes in their actions on and off the field are representatives of their schools.

What I think sometimes ends up happening is that sports teams, especially those higher-tier D-I teams, become separated from their respective schools, sort of like how professional sports teams aren’t necessarily tied to their cities. These teams somehow become separated from their institutions, until a scandal occurs which puts things in perspective.

Which brings me to my point: Are these D-I schools really academic institutions or rather are they collections of athletes at what happen to be schools? It’s true that athletics are an integral part of a school, especially when you want to create a tightly knit student body. In that sense, sports are effective and somewhat necessary for colleges. However, is it really necessary to award athletic scholarships? More importantly, at these schools are students identified as athletes or scholar athletes? There’s a huge distinction.

Mark is a first-year. You can reach him at

04-17-2006, 11:40 PM
Sports: Features


Wanted: a U.S. men's tennis star

by Javian Le

Contributing Writer

April 17, 2006

For the past three decades, Americans have been a dominant force in men’s professional tennis. Rivalries between players such as Arthur Ashe, Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe made the sport fun to watch, and the dominance of Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi in the 90s made the U.S. a tennis powerhouse. Now with Sampras long retired and Agassi suffering from injuries, however, there aren’t any American men making a real mark on the ATP tour.

Andy Roddick has had a poor start to the 2006 season, compiling a mediocre 16-6 record, failing to win any titles and reaching the semifinals in only one tournament. In fact, he hasn’t made an impressive mark since winning the U.S. Open three years ago. He has made it to the finals of Wimbledon for the past two years, but was easily defeated both times by the world No. 1-ranked Roger Federer. For the next month, Roddick will have to deal with the red clay surfaces in several overseas tournaments. With the world’s fastest server neutralized by the slow surface, there isn’t much to expect from him until the tour moves on to the fresh cut grass of Wimbledon.

Former Harvard Crimson star James Blake has had a much more successful year, but still needs to prove he can play on other surfaces besides hard courts. Not to take anything away from Blake — he is playing like a top three player and has proved it by already winning two titles — but in order to dominate the sport, he has to play well during the clay court season and do better on grass. At this past week’s Davis Cup Quarterfinal against Chile, played on the lawns of Mission Hills in California, Blake dropped two straight matches against relatively unknown players. Even if he does dramatically improve — which he has shown he can do — it is unlikely he would stay at the top. At the current age of 26, he will soon reach his peak.

With that said, there aren’t any other American ATP players out there that could make an impact and rival the likes of Federer or Rafael Nadal. The U.S. will no doubt suffer several years of unsuccessful progress in professional tennis, but there are still many talented juniors who will one day take over the sport. Who has what it takes to become the next champion?

The Favorite:

Donald Young

Age: 16

Highest ITF Junior Ranking: 1

There has been hype for quite some time that this Atlanta native would make an impact for American tennis. He became the world’s No. 1 junior at the age of 15 last year after winning the junior Australian Open, and was the youngest person to ever do so. Since he’s so young, he can only get better, right? Well, after receiving numerous wildcards into ATP events over the past two years, he is still 0-9 in professional play.

The Contenders:

Sam Querrey

Age: 18

Highest ITF Junior Ranking: 10

Querrey has had an impressive start to the 2006 season. The California native, who is headed to the University of Southern California this fall, fought his way through the qualifying rounds at the Pacific Life Open and Nasdaq 100 into the main draw. Querrey made it past his first-round opponent at the Pacific Life Open and faced Blake in the second round. Although Querrey lost, he was the only player to take a set from Blake throughout the tournament until Blake fell in the finals. Querrey’s tall frame and booming serve will make him a threat in years to come.

Jamie Hunt

Age: 17

Highest ITF Junior Ranking: 29

Hunt is one of the hardest working players on the junior tour, and it looks like his efforts have paid off. Hunt will be playing for the University of Georgia in the fall, which currently holds the No. 1 ranking in the FILA collegiate Division I tennis rankings. He has consistently made it to the finals and semifinals of ITF tournaments, but has never clinched a title.

Although none of these players have had the same success on the junior tour as Federer, Roddick or Agassi, there is still a chance they will blossom once playing in the big league. Two-time grand slam champion Lleyton Hewitt wasn’t a great junior player, and Blake wasn’t the best on the college circuit, yet both emerged to become two of the best players on tour to date.

Only time will tell if these three young Americans have what it takes to climb to the top of the tennis world.

04-21-2006, 10:28 PM
Broncos can't cut a break
By Darren Lockyer
April 20, 2006

TENNIS great Pete Sampras, a seven-time Wimbledon champion, used to say that, while you could never win a grand slam in the first week, you could certainly lose them.

It is a sentiment we have been reminded of at the Broncos lately because, while all of the talk in the pre-season was about addressing our end-of-season collapses, we know we can't just expect things to improve.

If our fadeouts have taught us anything, it is that you can't just flick a switch and be in form and, with the representative season nearly upon us, I think the next two weeks are extremely important for us.

It is hard to believe we are already a quarter of the way through the NRL season and, if you had offered me fourth place on the ladder after six rounds before the season started, I think I would have taken it.

If you'd made the same offer after we were hammered by the Cowboys in round one, I would have jumped at it.

As usual, though, a look at the numbers only tells half the story. There are plenty of things to be happy about, but there are also some concerns.

To begin with our pre-season "torture" with new performance director Dean Benton has paid significant dividends. As a group we are faster and fitter than ever, which has helped our game enormously.

After a shoddy start, our defence has been outstanding. Our missed tackle count is way down on last year's average and only the Cowboys have let in fewer points.

This is mainly due to our improved fitness and some hard work with new tackling coach Peter Ryan.

Our forwards have also been a tower of strength, with the two old warhorses Petero Civoniceva and Shane Webcke leading the way.

They have had great support from young Roosters recruit Ben Hannant and a rejuvenated Dane Carlaw, who will unfortunately miss at least a month of football after injuring his knee last Friday night.

It's a real shame for Dane because he was just starting to find some good form after a couple of tough years. He hadn't won a players' player award for three seasons, but took home two in two weeks before he went down.

Injuries are an issue at every club, so I don't want to be seen as a whinger, but we just can't catch a break.

Last year we had a horror run and this season we have lost our two leading hookers for the season, after Michael Ennis injured a knee and Barry Berrigan retired because of a chronic neck problem.

Brent Tate (ankle), Neville Costigan (knee) and Steve Michaels (ankle) have sustained long-term injuries, not to mention guys such as Brad Thorn, Tonie Carroll and Justin Hodges, who have missed games here and there.

However, with our No.1 halfback Brett Seymour still trying to find his feet after off-season shoulder surgery, it's losing our hookers which has really hurt.

Everyone knows how important it is to keep those key positions - fullback, halfback, five-eighth and hooker - as settled as possible and we haven't had a great deal of continuity there at all.

It has led to some patchy performances with the ball and it is an area we are hoping to get right when we host Penrith and Canberra in the next fortnight. It is great to be able to "win ugly" as they say, but we need to start sharpening some of our combinations.

Getting Tate back this week or next will be a big boost, because it will allow us get Shaun Berrigan into the hooking rotation, where I think he could become a real asset. He is a very similar player to Roosters ace Craig Wing, who has been a revelation since switching to hooker.

Berro and Casey McGuire complement each other perfectly.

There is also plenty to like about the form of Hodges, who is in the sort of touch that could easily see him pulling on a green and gold jumper next month.

For him, like the rest of us, the next fortnight will be very important.

It would be nice to go into the representative season showing at least glimpses of the form it will take to get us to Telstra Stadium in October.

04-22-2006, 11:26 PM
nice one indeed angiel
thanks for the articles

04-23-2006, 10:33 PM
nice one indeed angiel
thanks for the articles

Thank you my dear, and how are you doing, see Nadal win.

04-24-2006, 09:58 AM
I was extremely pleased for Nadal
he beat Fed truely & well
he has his number
I had to catch the live score on the net
as I dont have any channels broadcasting tennis
live streams didnt work

04-24-2006, 11:21 PM
I was extremely pleased for Nadal
he beat Fed truely & well
he has his number
I had to catch the live score on the net
as I dont have any channels broadcasting tennis
live streams didnt work

Yes he certainly do, hope he keeps it up. :worship: :worship: :wavey: how do you watch like the slams???? :confused: :(

04-25-2006, 12:04 AM
Apr. 23, 2006. 01:00 AM


Cover: Again, nothing, nothing, nothing on the freshly hatched littlest Scientologist, but at least there's something on the biggest loser, Nick, who is still crying his eyes out over Jessica. Sissy. But back to the non-existing horrid details on Tom's "baby:" Did you know the anagram of Suri Cruise Holmes is "I miss recluse hour?" Co-incidence?

Marvellous: And speaking of Jess, the feud between her and Lindsay Lohan is reaching a cataclysmic zenith of tension as they battle for the role of Lucy in the remake of Dallas.

Great: My eyes! Ryan Seacrest was one very ugly child.

Swell: The horror continues. Heather Locklear and David Spade are still dating.

Wonderful: Everybody's happy, even the fat guy from Lost and Colin Farrell. Oh, and Pete Sampras, but who in the world cares about him? What, do they think we are? Some sort of crazy tennis freaks?

04-25-2006, 09:48 PM
The Motley Fool

Retire Rich and Famous

By Anand Chokkavelu (TMFBomb)
April 25, 2006

At one point in history, you've probably read a statistic that goes something like this: "If you invest $10,000 today and assume a 10% return, in 50 years you'll be a gajillionaire!"

OK, so you'd actually only be a millionaire, but you get the point.

Fuzzy math
So what's stopping you? Well, as I see it, two things:

1. You don't have that much money to invest because you need it for other things -- paying off credit card debt, student loans, cars, mortgages, child care, or cigarette boats.

2. You didn't start investing at age 15 to let your investment compound those 50 years, so you think it's now too late.

Don't fret

You may have heard that "it's never too early to plan for retirement." (I think that's the tagline of a TV commercial.) I'd argue that it's never too late to plan for retirement, as long as you devise a smart game plan and execute it.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the average American lives to be nearly 80 years old. So if you're 40, 50, 60, or even 70, you still have plenty of time to grow your nest egg for your golden years -- even if you're already in them.

To get started on the path toward retirement, take a cue from the world of tennis -- yes, tennis.

The Punisher's plan
I've followed Andre Agassi's career since he was a long-haired, image-is-everything, spitting-at-the-umpire teenager. I watched in awe as he shocked crowds with his unmatched returns and groundstrokes, only to fall just shy of greatness.

Calm down, all you Agassi fans. I know Agassi won a slew of tournaments, and he was even No. 1 in the world for a brief time. But compared with Pete Sampras' spectacular career, Agassi gave you a gnawing feeling that he'd squandered his chances like so many people squander their financial chances in the invincibility of their youth.

In his late 20s, he fell all the way to No. 141 in the world rankings. Ouch.

Don't call it a comeback
And then came the game plan. Agassi didn't worry about all the opportunities he'd squandered in the past. He rededicated himself to the sport. And then the old man went out and won five of his eight career Grand Slam titles.

He's not done yet, and neither are you.

Yes, this does have to do with retirement
If you feel like the door to retirement planning has closed on you, take a page from Agassi and rededicate yourself. It's not too late, but you must start now.

First, track all your expenses for a few months to see what fat you can cut out of your budget. The more money you can stash away, the better.

If your employer-sponsored 401(k) plan has a company match, sign up. Immediately. With a 401(k), the money never lines your pocket, so you won't even miss it. And if your company matches a percentage of your contributions, you're essentially getting free cash for your retirement nest egg.

For non-401(k) funds, map out your time horizon and risk level. If retirement is near, play it safe with a mix of stocks and bonds -- emphasis on bonds. Take advantage of the income of dividend-paying stocks. And make sure you have emergency cash in an easy-to-access, high-yielding savings account. (ING Direct's current yield on a savings account is a category-crushing 4.0%.)

Back to where we started
Of course, if you have more time and more tolerance for risk, take a look at the stock market. The market's historical average rate of return -- 10% -- will let your money compound (remember to reinvest dividends), even if you don't have 50 years until you hug your co-workers and move the camper to Florida.

How do you get 10%? A good place to start is index funds, which cost you little and put the entire market to work in your portfolio. Vanguard Total Stock Market (FUND: VTSMX) and Fidelity Spartan Total Market Index (FUND: FSTMX) both hold more than 3,500 stocks and ding you just 0.19% and 0.17%, respectively. Exchange-traded fund SPDRs (AMEX: SPY) cost just 0.11% while tracking the S&P 500 (plus brokerage fees).

If you want to be more aggressive, you can look to individual stocks to round out the picture. One historical outperformer is General Electric (NYSE: GE), which has paid a dividend every year for more than a century and has increased its payout in each of the past 30 years. During the past two decades, GE has had 15.1% compound annual growth.

American Financial Realty (NYSE: AFR), a real estate investment trust with a 9.4% yield, is a stock I hold in my portfolio, and Fool dividend guru Mathew Emmert recently suggested that it's a stock for your golden years.

Take control of the retirement game
Does anything from this list strike your fancy?

1. Strategies for asset allocation (stocks vs. bonds vs. real estate and so on).

2. Inflation-related techniques.

3. Specific stock, fund, and bond recommendations.

4. Tax strategies.

If you answered yes (and I'm not sure anyone could answer no), I encourage you to check out the Fool's comprehensive retirement service, Rule Your Retirement. Editor Robert Brokamp takes you step by step through a Brad Gilbert-style lesson on how to control your own retirement destiny. A free 30-day trial to the service gives you full privileges -- the current issue, all back issues, retirement how-to guides and calculators, and the world-class members-only discussion boards.

The next time you think it's too late to have a superstar retirement, remember Andre Agassi. (And Andre, if you're reading this, drop me an email ... your subscription's on me.)

Click here to claim your free one-month guest pass to Rule Your Retirement.

Anand Chokkavelu owns a $30 racket and a $2 backhand. He owns shares of American Financial Realty, which is a Motley Fool Income Investor recommendation. The Fool has a disclosure policy

04-26-2006, 10:41 PM
April 26, 2006, 7:56AM
The great debate
After months of deliberation, decision day is near for the Texans. And in making closing arguments, some fans are willing to spend

Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle

Vince Young's provenance, personality and big-game performances have the Texans in a pickle. While they don't seem to think the Houston-born-and-reared quarterback of the national champion Texas Longhorns is the right fit as they attempt to recover from a 2-14 season, there are those in the community who disagree.

Lots of them, apparently.

One man, season ticket-holder Holly Frost, spent thousands of dollars for a full-page ad in last Sunday's Chronicle to beseech the Texans to select Young with the top pick in Saturday's NFL draft. He admonished them for "not taking calculated risks to get much better" and for taking "the easy way out" with Southern California running back Reggie Bush, whom conventional wisdom considers the best offensive prospect in this year's draft.

"I've been looking at players coming out (of college) for 20 years trying to decide which ones are going to make it," said Frost, 61, who founded Texas Memory Systems, a company specializing in computer memory storage, 27 years ago. "As near as I can tell, Vince Young looks like the best player with the biggest potential I've ever seen. From my humble point of view, it's a no-brainer.

"Every time I see Vince or hear him speak, I say to myself, 'Damn, that's a cool dude.' I like what he says and how humbly he carries himself."

In the ad, Frost also asked his fellow fans to contact the Texans through their fan feedback Web site and tell the team they believe the former Madison High School star should start his NFL career in Houston. The Texans say more than
300 Young advocates have responded. A spokesperson said every e-mail or fax has been, or will be, individually answered.

"We respect all our fans' opinions, and we sincerely appreciate that they care enough about the Houston Texans to voice them," said Tony Wyllie, the team's vice president, of communications. "That's why we offer ( We want to know what they're thinking."

Jim McIngvale, owner of Gallery Furniture and one of the Texans' most prominent corporate sponsors, hasn't written in, but he's not a bit bashful about sharing his thoughts. A former Longhorn who was at the Rose Bowl for the BCS championship game, McIngvale said he doesn't know Frost but noted they're kindred spirits. McIngvale is in the process of buying a two-page ad to run in Thursday's Chronicle.

"My point of view on Vince is real simple," said the man known as "Mattress Mack." "I saw what he did against USC, and for me, it's kind of like the gospel at church last Sunday. When Thomas stuck his hand on Jesus' side, he believed. Well, I believe in Vince."

McIngvale and his wife, Linda, also own Westside Tennis Club and were responsible for bringing the ATP Tour back to Houston six years ago. He compared Young to tennis champion Pete Sampras.

"Vince is the Pete Sampras of football," he said. "He steps up in the big moments. And he's a Houston kid on top of that. How do you pass him up?"

The view from I-45

McIngvale was speaking from his customary post at the front desk of his store on Interstate 45, where a replay of Texas' dramatic win over Bush and the Trojans can be seen repeating on the sea of TVs for sale. Young scored the winning touchdown on a fourth-down keeper in the final moments, having led the Longhorns back from 12 points behind with six minutes to play.

"I'm watching No. 10 right now," McIngvale said. "He just keeps getting better. They all tell me Reggie Bush is so great. USC's got 12 guys going to go play in the pros. Texas has five. Tell me who made his team better. Hello?"

Said Frost, whose son attended UT: "As soon as Vince got the ball in the fourth quarter, you felt, 'We've got it made. Vince has the football.' "

A devotee of the Dallas Cowboys who openly disdained the Oilers before the Texans' first game in 2002, Frost was speaking only as a fan when he bought his ad. He concedes he has renewed his season tickets and that if the Texans don't take Young, "I'll just shake my head and have a bad opinion of them. Sure, I'll still go the games."

Frost is adamant that he wasn't seeking publicity. His company wasn't mentioned in the ad, nor did he use his full last name in the letter.

"I've lived in Texas since the 1950s," he said. "I'm an entrepreneur. I've made some money over the years, and I'm just trying to have a positive impact. The one thing I've learned in business is that you try to hire people who make good decisions. Vince Young looks like he makes good decisions. You read that Vince can't do this or he can't do that, and wait until he sees an NFL linebacker. But you can say that about anybody coming out of college."

When he agreed to buy his tickets for next year, Frost sent the same letter to the Texans about Young that later appeared in the ad. After it garnered no response — "They probably just tossed it away," he said — he contacted the Chronicle and put his money where he mouth was.

"The Texans are saying, 'We'll draft Bush no matter what happens. People can't argue with our decision,' " he said. "Well, yes, you can argue, and I did with my ad."

Better return wanted

McIngvale speaks as both a fan and a corporate sponsor. Asked if the Texans' choosing Bush will impact his future business relationship with the team, he replied: "It darn sure ain't going to help it. I'm a marketing guy. I think Vince would be over the top for them. I don't want to go through another year like last year when I basically threw my money away.

"I'm obligated for a couple more years, and I'm big on fulfilling my commitment. But ongoing I've got to take a look at it because regardless of the football implications, (drafting Young) would at least double the value of my sponsorship overnight."

Told how McIngvale felt, Frost said: "Good for him."

05-05-2006, 10:12 PM
Billie Jean King impressed with Freedoms

By: Mike Greger 05/04/2006

In 2001, Lisa Raymond and Rennae Stubbs carried the Philadelphia Freedoms all the way to a World TeamTennis championship. Five years later, the team is looking to repeat history.

"This team was built to win," proclaimed league vice-president Jeff Harrison during the team's annual media luncheon. Harrison must've uttered those words at least five times at the event, pointing to the acquisitions of Venus Williams, Daniel Nestor, Freddy Niemeyer, as well as Raymond and Stubbs, as key cogs in repeating that feat.

Those sentiments were echoed by league co-founder and tennis legend Billie Jean King. "Lisa (Raymond) was totally stoked," King said. "She was calling every day, helping with the draft and telling us who to pick. She was crazed.

"The team is going to be balanced, exciting and fun to watch, but human beings are unpredictable. You never know."

The Freedoms start their season on the road July 6 in Houston. First home match is July 7 against the Delaware Smash. They'll play seven games on their home court at Cabrini College, including marquee appearances from Williams (July 21) and Pete Sampras (July 18), in a match being aired on Comcast Sportsnet. Individual tickets are sold out, but a few select seats remain for those interested in purchasing season tickets (go to or call 866-WTT-TIXS).

"Pete promised me if he ever picked up a racket again, he would play for us," King said, "and he kept his word."

King reminded the crowd that World TeamTennis has been on tennis' cutting edge since its inception in 1974. They were the first to broadcast music during matches, hit balls into the stands, put names on the backs of jerseys, use instant replay and give out free rackets.

This year, the league is introducing electronic scoreboards and will resurrect the colored courts, which were the league's calling card in the 70s. King said the reason most kids aren't interested in sports these days is because they aren't fun.

"We keep trying to stretch the envelope and make it fun," King said.

World TeamTennis, which has been in existence for 31 seasons, is the only sanctioned professional tennis league that promotes coed team play. In recent months, organizations like Campus Tennis and the USTA, have been adding elements from the league.

"World TeamTennis is a great format," King said. "I love the gender equity and the way it's so kid-friendly. What we need to do is have a huge grassroots event and make an impact with the WTA and Middlestates. It would be the biggest grassroots tournament ever."

King believes that kind of event is a legitimate possibility, and cites Philadelphia as a possible venue. Harrison added that it could happen as soon as next year.

But this year the duo's attention turns to winning a title. Merrill Lynch and Wilmington Trust have been added as new sponsors, and Fox Chase Cancer Center was recently named the team's official charity. Every time an ace is hit, the Freedoms will donate $100 to Fox Chase. Sampras and Williams will also be auctioning off their rackets after matches and 2,500 free rackets will be distributed to fans as they pass through the gates.

It is for these reasons that King, who was the subject of a recent feature on HBO, stays excited about the sport she once dominated. She said one in three children is at risk for Type 2 diabetes, a staggering statistic, which is the direct result of inactivity. If tennis can get just one child involved in sports, then King has done her job.

"The tennis court was a sanctuary for me," said King, who was bombarded with overwhelming off-the-court social pressures during her playing days. "When I see kids today just playing around, sometimes I wonder how good I could've been."

©Main Line Life 2006

05-06-2006, 07:10 PM
Leading by example in game, set, life

By Matt Cooper
The Register-Guard

Published: Saturday, May 6, 2006

Wheelchair tennis sounds harmless enough, until you find yourself dodging missiles launched from a guy like Randy Snow.

Snow, if you don't know, is basically the Pete Sampras of wheelchair tennis, holder of 10 U.S. Open titles in the sport. He won gold medals in singles and doubles at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, the only man to accomplish that.

He's got silver and bronze in racing and wheelchair basketball, too. You'll find Snow in the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame, next to Muhammad Ali and Mary Lou Retton.

Not that all the accomplishments have curbed the tan Texan's taste for mischief, mind you. He still likes to send the occasional tennis ball whistling past your ear at duck-for-cover speeds.

"It's the key to life - passion," the 46-year-old Snow said Friday during a quick clinic at the YMCA tennis courts in south Eugene. "When we do the things we love to do, we have more energy. It makes life enjoyable. It's a precious thing.

"And guess what?" he added. "We've got to return it (to others)."

Snow retired from competition in 2000 and makes his living these days teaching leadership to corporate audiences.

He came to Eugene this week to teach diversity and team-building to city departments, and a friend there talked Snow into a little court time at the Y. He was an instant draw for tennis junkies from as far as Portland, be they in - or not in - wheelchairs.

"Everybody knows Randy Snow," said Curt Nibler, 37, an athlete with paralysis from Eugene. "He's the man."

Already a promising tennis player at 16, Snow was moving hay with a tractor when a 1,000-pound bale fell from a lift and crushed his spine, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down. He endured the full range of emotions that followed - blame, denial, depression, anger - and an athlete emerged.

Snow discovered wheelchair basketball at the University of Texas. The fierceness of the play changed everything for him - he realized his life could again be about performance and competition, and he dived in.

Snow's career in sport followed a trajectory of some elite athletes: the obsessive, single-minded commitment to training, the attainment of the highest accomplishments, the lows of alcohol and drug dependency, the stress of dealing with it all and the relief of retirement.

Along the way, Snow learned a critical lesson: One person's wheelchair is another person's self-doubt. Or victim mentality. Or fear.

"We all have our hay-baling accidents," he said. "What are we going to do about it?"

Snow used his paralysis to inspire others who struggle with their own demons, be they physical or mental.

On the court, he's a chatterbox with a 1,000-watt smile who sends his wheelchair troops through baseline workouts while ripping the occasional scorching forehand just to make sure you're paying attention.

In wheelchair tennis, players are allowed an extra bounce before the ball must be struck; that's about the only variation. Also, players with and without wheelchairs can match up against one another.

Eugene boasts one of the nation's top young players in Matt Farmen, 17, of Sheldon High School.

Farmen wasn't on hand Friday, however. He's in Brazil right now, his parents said, playing in what amounts to the Davis Cup for wheelchair players, the World Team Cup.

That's the kind of thing sure to make Snow proud.

"I'd rather be paralyzed and have a good attitude," he said, "than be able-bodied and have a paralyzed mind."

05-09-2006, 09:28 PM
In praise of individual genius

Winning and losing — everyday occurrences — pale in comparison with the works of incomparable individual genius, writes Nirmal Shekar

FORMULA One's most famous fossil has come back to life again. As an object of reverence, Michael Schumacher has been handed back reluctantly by F1's palaeontologists to its delighted contemporary chroniclers. A half-forgotten glorious past has suddenly intruded on a GenNext present and its seemingly promising future.

Life has come a full circle. That man is back. You cannot keep a gifted alpha male down for long, can you? Even if the person happens to be 37 in a sport where the reigning champion is all of 24.

To be sure, Schumacher's resurgence has come on the back of a much-improved performance by Team Ferrari which has put in so much effort to make the cars competitive. And few F1 teams in recent times have shown such a remarkably consistent ability to close ranks when the going gets tough.

Result of teamwork?

Yet, brilliant as the Ferrari engineers and pit crew are, is Schumi's latest surge simply the result of teamwork? On the face of it, yes. But dig a little deeper and delve into the incomparable Schumacher saga and the truth that emerges might force you to think again.

Say all you want about teamwork. Say all you will about camaraderie and team spirit. Celebrate the courage and spirit of selfless sportsmen with limited skills who put the team's cause ahead of their own.

But there are few things in sport that make your spirits soar quite as much as the sight of a lone individual taking flight on the wings of genius to touch stratospheric heights of performance. For a brief while at Nurburgring on Sunday, shortly before his delayed second pit stop, Schumacher showed us why, as John Keats wrote, "works of genius are the first things in the world.''

To a handful who like to see their sport practised at a rather exalted level, they _ works of genius _ are perhaps the only thing in the world.

Man with a mission

One man with a mission (Schumacher on Sunday); the lone steely eyed warrior waging a courageous battle (Steve Waugh, half a million times, if you'll pardon the exaggeration); a solitary little footballer doing a Nureyev on a football field, dancing his way past stunned opponents to slot the ball in the net (Diego Maradona, Mexico, 1986); the strongest-willed sportsman of our times turning a bicycle into a symbol of immortality, pedalling his way around death's doors to explore new vistas in his own heart and soul (Lance Armstrong); a great, upright champion making the name of the oldest and most celebrated tennis tournament in the world synonymous with his own (Pete Sampras)...

Teamwork is the universal mantra in modern sport; teams of interchangeable parts are praised to the skies _ and rightly so, because they seem to deliver more often than not.

Then again, there are those odd parts that are not interchangeable, simply because no other part of the team can quite match them. Throw any other driver in the Ferrari mix in like conditions and do you think he will achieve what Schumacher did in Nurburgring?

Three years ago, in the cricket World Cup in South Africa, India put in a fine team performance to beat Pakistan yet again on the big stage. Everybody talked about the new Indian team spirit, as, of course, they are doing right now all over again.

Tendulkar's genius

But to a reductionist like me, on that day, whatever India achieved against Pakistan was made possible by the genius of one little man. An epic victory was built on the assault mounted by one man on Pakistan's fast bowlers. Sachin Tendulkar's genius made all the difference. The rest are minor details.

Of course, it is always possible that one man's genius, however extraordinary, is not enough to deliver in the team's cause. We have seen this time and time again vis-a-vis Tendulkar.

But, then, sport is not always about winning and losing and flag waving patriotism _ at least not to all of us. To some, it is about what is truly elevating, about heroics that transcend the mundane, about the staggeringly improbable creativity of a single man.

Not teamwork

After all, winning and losing _ everyday occurrences _ pale in comparison with the works of incomparable individual genius. And, remember, some of the greatest achievements in life were not the result of teamwork. E=mc2 was not teamwork; nor was The Origin of Species; or, for that matter, The Last Supper.

And one would strongly suspect that bipedalism itself had nothing to do with teamwork. Perhaps we humans are what we are today because a solitary, pioneering ape chose to go about its business on two legs in a distant evolutionary past.

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05-13-2006, 07:44 PM
Sat 13, 2006

Yes, I am serious: Murray's temper is crippling him, claims Wimbledon legend


THE legendary Wimbledon referee Alan Mills has hit out at Andy Murray's on-court behaviour, saying the Scot's fiery temper is the main obstacle to him winning at the All England Club.

Mr Mills, who retired after 23 years as Wimbledon tournament referee last year, told The Scotsman he has "serious concerns" over Murray's recent on-court behaviour.

Experience with top tennis champions such as the placid Pete Sampras and Roger Federer has convinced him that Murray cannot succeed unless he brings his temper under control.

Even the tumultuous John McEnroe, with whom the referee had many encounters at Wimbledon, played his best tennis when his emotions were in check, Mr Mills said.

Last month, Murray received Britain's first fine in the 106-year history of the Davis Cup after swearing at a match official.

That fine followed a code violation issued to Murray at a pro tournament in San Jose in February, after Murray threw his racket four times and appeared to swear at a chair umpire.

Mr Mills said: "Things like that are very foolish. If you can't control yourself that's not going to be very good for you in the future. It's one of two questions in his game.

"The first is his fitness and the second is his ability to keep his emotions under control".

"I always go back to [Bjorn] Borg. He was always known as the Ice Man. But what most people don't know is that at the age of 15 he behaved so badly at a tournament that the Swedish Tennis Association suspended him for six months. Soon after he learned his lesson and went on to be a great champion.

"It would be very difficult for someone to suspend [Murray] in this day and age. [But] if he imagined that it could happen he would have shaped up."

After his Davis Cup fine, Murray justified his behaviour by arguing that footballers swear on the pitch without being reprimanded.

Mr Mills, himself a former Davis Cup player, said: "A certain amount of aggression is good. When I first saw him play, I thought, 'At last, here was a British player who looks as though he wants it. He's hungry. You can tell by the way he plays.

"You are always going to have things that happen on a tennis court that are going to upset you and there are ways of dealing with it without losing control."

Mr Mills, 70, who is in Edinburgh this week refereeing the Scottish Open, also questioned Murray's decision to fire coach Mark Petchy last month.

A spokesman for Murray could not be reached last night, but Jeremy Bates, the former British number one and current Davis Cup captain, said: "[Murray's temper] is part and parcel of what makes him a good player. He is channelling it in the right direction - it's what is going to make him such a champion."

05-13-2006, 07:55 PM
Sporting evolution: where will it end?

May 13 2006

Our sportsmen are at the vanguard of a fitness revolution that is allowing them - and the rest of us - to compete as never before. However, as technology allows us to imagine a future where humans are even more powerful, a major conference in Wales next week will hear there are huge ethical dilemmas involved. Duncan Higgitt reports

Duncan Higgitt, Western Mail

THEY call it plateauing, and this is how it occurs. You've been bitten by the running bug, shall we say, and decide to train for a marathon. You take some advice, get a trainer to help in the initial stages, and draw up a programme.

To begin with, it all goes swimmingly. You can feel the gains and every week you are going further, and faster.

Then it all goes wrong. You're still eating the same advisable things, have sworn off alcohol, get plenty of sleep. But you are tired all the time, and when you run, a lack of zip and endurance leaves you demotivated.

Sometimes there are understandable reasons for this, sometimes all you can do is take it easy for a few frustrating days, or seek out an expert that can reorganise your training schedule and get things moving again.

So imagine if you could bypass all that. If, with perhaps a single injection, you would gain the speed, power and endurance to run 26 miles with no problems, and on a fraction of the training you are undertaking.

Would you take that injection?

After all, how hugely different would it be to cosmetic surgery? You can save yourself years of dieting by going under the knife. Would this not be a case of the same thing, only from a different angle?

Those concerned with the ethics of sporting improvement, an area that sometimes intrudes upon what is known as trans-humanism, are becoming increasingly alarmed over the ramifications of such development. They argue that it could not only have consequences for sporting contests, but may force us into a reassessment of what these enhanced individuals would be, and whether they can still be called humans.

Physiologists are no less concerned. They say the use of targeted genetics remains very much an unknown country, and that the side effects could negate them anyway.

The last 10 years have seen an explosion of both interest in sports science and advancements within it. Here in Wales, this has seen a huge impact on rugby, to the point where the roles of individual players and tactics have altered with development.

Some 20 years ago, centres were slippery little fellows with an eye for a gap. Today, they are ultra-toned athletes like Gavin Henson, capable of smashing a hole through a back row forward and hitting with all the force of a half-ton car.

It has made the game a far more gladiatorial spectacle but it has also impacted on players. Andrew Hoare, the former Wales fitness coach, has estimated that while, once upon a time, a player would accumulate hits and tackles equivalent to the force of being hit by a Mini over the course of a season, it is now closer to being hit by a juggernaut over the same period.

The British Philosophy of Sports Association will be holding its annual conference at the University of Wales Institute in Cardiff from Thursday until Saturday.

It will begin with a symposium titled What would a "good" Games look like in 2012? Part of that will examine doping. The World Anti-Doping Agency has declared that the use of gene injections is doping, and therefore is illegal.

But because it is so hard to detect, there have been claims that genetic modification is already being used by some athletes at the Olympics. Others say that if it wasn't already being employed, it will by Beijing in two years time, or in London in 2012.

Dr Mike McNamee, course director in medical sciences and humanities at the University of Wales Swansea, chair of the British Philosophy of Sport Association, is organising the Cardiff conference.

He said, "If the East German system was alive and kicking, it [genetic modification] probably would have already happened.

"The most likely place, if it's not already happened, is horse racing, for a number of reasons - not least because you would need a willing pool of human beings."

But in an area of human endeavour where participants can become legendary for wanting something so badly, is this correct?

A recent interview with Thomas "Hitman" Hearns, one of the best boxers of the 1980s, concluded that he was only returning to the ring at the age of 47 to avenge famous defeats at the hands of Marvin Hagler and Sugar Ray Leonard.

Dr McNamee said, "You have to admire a commitment to excellence that is so great that who he most remembers is not a great career but two blemishes. You would say that Hearns is lacking balance."

But, asks Dr McNamee, if a sportsman were to undergo genetic modification, how would fans view it?

"Part of what we admire in our great sportsmen is when they push to the limit. One analogy you could use is to look at sport as a big scientific experiment. You want to discover who has the greatest athletic ability and you want nothing to contaminate the results.

"Imagine Bjorn Borg with his wooden racket going up against Pete Sampras with his lightweight, three-times-more-powerful racket - it's not very attractive to an audience. If you do want stronger, faster, higher and you use technology, why not watch two robots?"

The reason we would not warm to such a contest is that we would feel no empathy for the participants.

Dr McNamee adds, "What we really enjoyed about the Middlesbrough comeback is that they showed real character.

"Sport is essentially all about emotion."

He believes there are good reasons why sport has become embroiled in the debate over genetic enhancement and trans-humanism.

"It is the least regulated of any social sphere. If you tried to push any sort of similar radical change through education or health, it would spend years bogged down in institutional inertia.

"But sport is all about enhancement, that ethos is smack-bang in the middle."

But there are more fundamental reasons why Dr McNamee is worried by the use of genetic enhancement.

"It's all quite scary. It's taken us a few millennia to develop to what we are. Genetic technology is saying you can change all that, but nobody knows what we want to be instead.

"Who has the right to say what we should become?

"This has implications across the whole of our lives. If you have genetically enhanced workers that never take a day off sick, who is a company going to employ?

"People think of it as just an additive, but human nature's a funny thing - you augment one part, you weaken another.

"One of the things people don't know is the consequences for the future. In Stockholm harbour, they found that fish levels were dropping because fish weren't reproducing.

"They did water tests and found massive levels of oestrogen, which had made its way there through sewage from women using contraceptives. Who would have thought that when the pill was being developed, that would be a consequence?"

Dr Emily Ryall, who lectures in philosophy at De Montfort University in Bedford, will be giving a paper at the conference, entitled Defining the Human: On reaching an ethical judgment about genetic technology in sport.

She will discuss the debate about where genetic modification takes us as a species.

"One of the problems is the idea that such people would no longer be human, and that something else would have been created. There has been all this media speculation about gods and monsters.

"But the language we use when we talk about genetics has genes as agents, acting for themselves, that they are something different. That's why some are saying that genetically modified athletes will be something other than human.

"I'm resisting that. We can't say how you would list the criteria. It's the wrong way to go about it. Our attitude toward someone should be that they are human, and if we find out afterwards that they are something different, we should have the debate around the individuals."

Dr Mark Burnley, who lectures in exercise physiology at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, says he has little time for arguments around trans-humanism, but also has concerns about what genetic modification will do to the body, not least because he views it as almost pointless.

An expert in Olympic and sporting records, he says humans are reaching their physical limits.

"There's been lot of extrapolation from plotting world records over the last 100 years. It has been claimed that women will run faster than men for the first time at the 2156 Olympics. But it's completely arbitrary. Using that criteria, there will come a point where races will be run when the gun goes off, and then finishing before they start.

But things are beginning to plateau, and world records are becoming harder to come by. The 200 metre record has been broken only four times in the last 40 years.

"It is in endurance where we are getting better - the 10,000 metres has been broken 10 times since 1990.

"All the reasons we are getting faster is to do with sports science and not evolution, because we are not evolving. There is no need for us to evolve, we are not being hunted down anymore, certainly not in the western world.

"In the future, the fastest athletes will come from places like India and China - not because they are harsh places to live, but because they have such large populations. The fastest woman on the planet, Paula Radcliffe, comes from Cheshire.

"Places like Kenya turn out so many good runners because athletes out there have two sports they can participate in - running or football, and they are good at football. Whereas in Britain there is a plethora of sports you can pursue."

So does that mean a human being will never run a five-second 100 metres? Dr Burnley said, "We'll be very lucky to see 9.5 seconds. Even for eight seconds, the amount of metabolic power required would take a human the size of a horse.

"If you do the calculations, we are not far off the optimal for 100 metres.

"Maybe there's a little bit more in the marathon - two hours (currently just below two hours and five minutes). But you'll never see one-and-a-half hours."

He also doesn't believe genetic modification can act as a simple boost, because human physiology is not that straightforward.

"A lot of things are determined by muscle mass. If genetics improve muscle mass, you need a way to move it about, to power that movement.

"Gene doping is not as advanced as people think it is. If you use it to switch on one gene, it may affect half a dozen others that will negate its effect.

"We are 50 years away from getting that right."

Dr Burnley believes that sports science is bringing far greater benefits than gene doping.

"If you want to get better at producing oxygen, you go to a high altitude to train and switch on those genes.

It's easier to train someone than fiddle about with genes.

"I think sports science will put endurance close to its limits. With team sports, it's difficult to predict because they are so random.

"Rugby has done very well by embracing sports science. Football could go a long way, but teams such as Arsenal and Chelsea are now getting interested in it.

"I think things will slow down dramatically, particularly world records in athletics and cycling, because of their reliance on sports science."

Dr McNamee suggests that by embracing our inherent weaknesses, we can celebrate that much more when we triumph against the odds.

"Part of being a human being is vulnerability.

"I'm comfortable with the fact that I have waning powers. There will always be limits.

"Someone once asked - if Rachmaninov wrote a symphony that could only be played by someone with 12 fingers, do you think it would be right to enhance someone by adding two extra digits?

" I say - you must be joking."

[I]The BPSA third annual conference takes place between May 18-20 at the School of Sport, PE & Recreation, University of Wales Institute, Cardiff.

05-15-2006, 11:32 PM
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Pages: Perfect blend of Fire and Ice

By John Pages

The clock read “5:00.” Was it 5 o’clock? No, it meant five hours. Five hours?

Yes, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal had been on court at the Italian Open finals for five hours and the match wasn’t finished. When the clock read “5:05,” the score was 5-5 in the fifth set tiebreaker. In the end, Nadal snapped his fifth win over Federer.

Lucky 5-5-5.

I saw the replay yesterday and can conclude this: It’s the best match of 2006. It was a game of seesaw played by two boys out in the playground: Federer up, Nadal down, Nadal up, Federer down. Seesaw.

In the fifth set, Federer led, 4-1, and owned two match points at 6-5. He was up, Nadal was down. Against any other person on this 6.5-billion planet, Federer would have won and stayed up. But he came down, and up went Nadal. Like a seesaw. Why? Because with Nadal, the word “down” doesn’t exist in his Spanish dictionary.

Are we watching a rivalry?

You bet. Though the head-to-head is one-sided (5-1 in favor of Nadal), take note that three of those wins came on the clay-court, Rafa’s choice of residence. If they play on grass and on a fast hard-court, it would be the reverse.

Remember these rivalries: Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe? Jimmy Connors and McEnroe? Stefan Edberg and Ivan Lendl? Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi? A rivalry will create a boom for tennis, much like Boris “Boom-Boom” Becker created when he fought Ivan Lendl.

Two years back, it looked like a Federer-Andy Roddick rivalry. But where has Roddick gone to? We don’t know. Even he doesn’t know. His weapon is that 150-mph cannonball serve and nothing else. His record against Federer is 38 losses, one win. Just kidding, it’s 1 win, 10 losses...still ugly!

Federer and Nadal?

R versus R. Swiss Guard versus Spanish Conquistador. No.1 versus No.2. Right-hander versus lefty. Switzerland versus Spain. Wimbledon champ versus Roland Garros champ.

Ice versus Fire.

Fire and Ice? The perfect mix. Nadal is hot as Spain’s Raging Bull, while Federer is as cool as the Swiss Alps.
I can’t wait for the French Open, which starts May 28.

GOLF. Congratulations to Charles “Chuckie’ Hong for winning the junior golf title at the Cebu Country Club Championships.

Chuckie set two records last Sunday: He became the only three-time junior golf winner and the first-ever to win both the Men’s title (won the other weekend) and the Junior title (the other day) on the same year.
He’s only 17.

I sent a text message to George, his father, yesterday and got this reply, “Thanks a lot. Cannot express our happiness as parents. Was a great Mother’s Day gift from Chuckie for her mom, Jojo.”


For Bisaya stories from Cebu. Click here.

(May 16, 2006 issue)
Write letter to the editor.Click here.
Join the Sun.Star message board.[U]Click here.

05-16-2006, 02:16 PM
LOVE the articles as always Angiel

I was surprised to hear Alan Mills had some views to voice about Murray
guess if anyone if british then the whole kingdom has the license to give advice
I think andy Murray is a good player & might in a few years become a force, but not just yet & the british public, as well as the media should let the boy grow up on his own & give him time.
I used to go nutts( shouting & scolding & occasional applauding) playing basketball in high school(captain of my team) when my teammates would do mistakes especially when we had a crowd of 100+ watching, I used to think if they are ever going to come & supprt us in the future against other schools we should not be horsing around or making silly mistakes

not that it relates in any way, but Murray is only 18 & asking him to be unpeccible & on his best behavour when more than 5+ million are watching him with anticipation is too much pressure on the young lad.

05-16-2006, 02:22 PM
as for the Nadal vs. Federer match up
well it is whats keeping me interested in following the ATP
Safin seems to be no where to be found & followinghis progress can be at most times tiring & upsetting
like now losing to a qualifier in Hamburg, his temper & antics are getting a little old & childish, he needs to get his act together asap
I watched the final of Monte Carlo on Tv (complete chance) as I havent been finding channel broadcastnig tennis
needles to say I was thrilled to see Rafa beat Fed
last weekend i stay home on Sunday to follow the live socre of the rome Final
was as nervous & angry as I used to be watching pete
GREAt win for NAdal equaliing Vilas'sr ecord & beating federer for 5 times in a row

05-16-2006, 06:54 PM
LOVE the articles as always Angiel

I was surprised to hear Alan Mills had some views to voice about Murray
guess if anyone if british then the whole kingdom has the license to give advice
I think andy Murray is a good player & might in a few years become a force, but not just yet & the british public, as well as the media should let the boy grow up on his own & give him time.
I used to go nutts( shouting & scolding & occasional applauding) playing basketball in high school(captain of my team) when my teammates would do mistakes especially when we had a crowd of 100+ watching, I used to think if they are ever going to come & supprt us in the future against other schools we should not be horsing around or making silly mistakes

not that it relates in any way, but Murray is only 18 & asking him to be unpeccible & on his best behavour when more than 5+ million are watching him with anticipation is too much pressure on the young lad.

You know something almouchie, I agree with Mr. Mills about Murray, if he carry on has he is going he is not going to go too far in the sport, he is not a John McEnroe and he better start believeing that soon, i dislike rude behavior and this young man is very rude, who do he think he is anyway? :mad: It is so sad that people think they have to be rude to make people notice them or look cool to others :devil: :o trust me he has better wake up and make it soon, he is neither cool and nobody want to see him been rude. :devil: :o :sad:

05-19-2006, 04:16 PM
SI's Reilly: 'If I didn't hurt so bad, I'd limp over to the oven and stick my head in it'

May 19, 2006

Through 16 years of the American Century Championship, only one print journalist has been invited to compete in the 54-hole celebrity golf tournament.

Sports Illustrated golf writer Jaime Diaz competed in the 1996 tournament, and managed not to embarrass his fellow journalists. Diaz actually shot two sub-80 rounds and finished in a tie for 55th place with TV media's top hack Bryant Gumbel, Joe Morgan, Mike Eruzione and Maury Povich.

The list of superstars trailing Diaz included the likes of Jerry Rice, Pete Sampras and Oscar De La Hoya. Not too shabby for a guy who sits behind a desk most of the day.

Ten years later, a more celebrated journalist was poised to represent us. Sports Illustrated columnist Rick Reilly was all set to enter the tournament for the first time. But Reilly didn't have the restraint to live the risk-free life of a monk in the months leading up to the nationally televised tournament.

No, Reilly went out and did something ridiculous and tore his Achilles' tendon - one of the few injuries that could possibly rule him out of the tournament.

Now, instead of showing off a swing that has to be better than Charles Barkley's, Reilly will probably write about some schmuck who blew a shot at playing a week of free golf with the world's greatest collection of athletes.

How could he possibly of blown this sweet gig?

"I ripped my Achilles leaping from a speeding taxi cab to save a stranded baby in the middle of 1-95," Reilly fibbed.

Or how about, "I ripped it doing a 720 misty flip in Aspen," Reilly exaggerated again.

Finally, Reilly couldn't resist telling the truth.

"I ripped it playing basketball with my son," he said, coming clean. "I can't believe I'm going to miss the Tahoe tournament. If it didn't hurt so bad, I'd limp over to the oven and stick my head in it."

He deserves another chance, don't you think? But as a dad, how is Reilly going to tell his boy that he can't play basketball with him any more?

Catching up with Moriah Lane

Nearly two years ago, the Tribune did a feature story on Little League All-Star Moriah Lane.

Back then, the 10-year-old Lane was just starting to earn the respect from the top boys' players in the league.

Now 12, Lane is terrorizing the league with her mammoth home runs and robust batting average. Girls have done well in the South Lake Tahoe Little League before but not to the level Lane has demonstrated.

With seven games remaining in the regular season, Lane was hitting .826 (19 of 23) with 22 RBI. She had struck out only once and had three homers, six doubles and nine walks.

Lane also has been a vital part of the Pirates' defense as she plays first base and pitches in relief.

The personal accomplishments are much more satisfying because Lane's Pirates were in first place at the start of the week in the seven-team league.

With the abbreviated season ending in a month, use part of a Saturday or Sunday afternoon to cheer on Lane as she makes league history.

- Tribune Sports Editor Steve Yingling can be reached at (530) 542-8010 or

06-05-2006, 09:13 PM
Borg rates himself in the top four of all time

Stockholm, Sweden

05 June 2006 02:17

Swedish tennis great Bjorn Borg, winner of five consecutive Wimbledon titles, rated himself among the world's top four players ever in an interview published on Monday, the eve of his 50th birthday.

In an exclusive interview with Stockholm daily Expressen, Borg was asked to rate the world's top five players ever. After long consideration, he came up with four names: Rod Laver, Pete Sampras, Roger Federer and himself, adding it was impossible to compare the quartet.

Borg said current world number one Federer would likely master an old-fashioned wooden racquet unlike many other active top players.

"A player like Federer is the master of everything, he has no weaknesses," Borg said.

Earlier this year, Borg made headlines after announcing he planned to sell his five Wimbledon trophies and two racquets he used to win the finals.

"There was almost more media attention than when I won my fifth Wimbledon title," Borg said about the hype, noting that his great tennis rival John McEnroe also phoned.

Borg later bought back the trophies and racquets "at a personal loss", he said, adding they are "in a safe place now". He said his economic situation was fine: "I have enough."

Asked why he drives around in a Ford station wagon instead of something flashier, Borg said he had owned sports cars before, "but they don't have the same attraction. Now, with a family and a dog, comfort is important."

Borg said he was still in good physical shape, weighing only a kilo or two more than when he was a dominant force on the tennis courts.

"I don't feel like 50 anyway. I have a young wife and child, so I have to be alert."

The tennis legend said he often declines invitations to parties and exhibition events, preferring to spend time with his family, including his wife Patricia, and parents.

Borg married his wife Patricia in 2002 and they have a three-year-old son, Leo, in addition to her two children from a former relationship and Borg's 20-year-old son, Robin.

Patricia organised a surprise party for Borg and invited several close friends to Mallorca to celebrate the anniversary, rival Stockholm tabloid newspaper Aftonbladet reported.

Asked what accomplishment he was most proud of during his first 50 years, Borg said: "Introducing a new style on the tennis court. At Wimbledon 1973 I made tennis rock 'n' roll. Previously, tennis was an upper-class sport.

"And then there was my two-handed backhand and top spin -- they were also contributions I made."

Borg retired from the professional circuit at age 26 and went into various business partnerships. He was less successful as a businessman. His ventures have generated critical headlines and lawsuits from disgruntled former associates.

The retired player touched on the subject, saying among his regrets was being let down by people he regarded as friends: "It seemed they just wanted my money or fame." -- Sapa-dpa

06-08-2006, 04:06 AM
Natural skills can't be honed in college class

By Brad Rock
Deseret Morning News

Attention recent college graduates: Aim high. Go forth to serve. Relish the possibilities.
You can attain your dreams, you know. All you need to do is be like Lance Armstrong — on several levels.
It's graduation time again, and you know what that means: a lot of windy speeches about achievement. There's always a mountain of rhetoric about reaching heights, standing tall and fighting the good fight.
Most years during commencement, graduates hear from standard speakers such as Bill and/or Hillary, George W. Bush, John McCain, Bill Gates, etc. Lately colleges have been spicing things up with advice from comedians and actors. Will Ferrell has spoken at Harvard, while Chevy Chase and Jerry Seinfeld have addressed Princeton.
(Probably the best line of this year's graduation ceremonies came from another comedian, Ellen DeGeneres, who showed up in a bathrobe at Tulane University and said, "I heard everyone was going to be wearing robes.")
But colleges need not limit their scope of speakers to politicians, business titans or even actors or musicians anymore. They can now call on athletes. Just what new grads need — speeches from multimillionaires who might not have attended any classes during their school days.
I confess, the only thing I'm graduating from this year is traffic school, but I wouldn't find it inspiring to have a 7-foot ballplayer telling me how to reach my dreams. That's because in most jobs, success can be reached through hard work and determination. But in sports, it also takes the right genes. If you don't have them, no amount of hard work or preparation is going to get the job.
So why rely on athletes to motivate graduates who — because of physical limitations — have no chance of ever going where they've gone?
I don't need, say, Gale Sayers telling me what it takes to become a Hall of Fame running back or Clyde Drexler talking about playing for Phi Slamma Jamma.
I need to hear from someone more gravity bound.
This year has been rife with athlete commencement speakers.
Armstrong addressed Tufts University. Although he didn't say it, the best way to earn millions as a cyclist/pitchman is through hard work, determination, heart — and lung capacity 25 percent above normal.
Armstrong overcame cancer to win the Tour de France seven times; that's inspiring. But he also has natural ability nobody in his audience had.
Another athlete-speaker this year was Golden State Warrior Adonal Foyle, who addressed the Massbay Community College graduates. (As if anyone from the Warriors should be discussing achievement.) Rider College tapped New York Yankees manager Joe Torre this year for its graduation ceremonies.
While Torre isn't an athlete anymore, he does have a .297 career batting average, which puts him beyond the reach of most anyone who attended Rider.
West Virginia University employed Jerry West as a commencement speaker. Is he just an ordinary guy who set high goals and worked hard to reach his dream? No, he's a guy who had enough talent to make a 70-foot shot in the playoffs.
Again, not the stuff ordinary, motivated hardworking people could ever dream of doing.
The University of New England called upon runner Joan Benoit Samuelson for its commencement this year. Cabrini College invited St. Joseph's basketball coach Phil Martelli. St. Thomas University landed former Miami Heat coach Stan Van Gundy. (Wonder what his topic was — "How to Enjoy Watching Someone Else Succeed at Your Job"?)
For the right price schools can also hear from Pete Sampras, Mark Spitz, Bruce Jenner, John Elway, Magic Johnson, Bart Starr, Reggie Jackson and dozens of others.
Athletes can still be role models and inspire dedication. They may know everything there is to know about competitiveness and the will to win.
But what they can't do is tell one indisputable truth: For graduates to get to the top of some professions, they would also need to add fast-twitch muscle fibers or 10 inches in height.



06-26-2006, 09:54 PM

26, 2006

From Pat Cash writing for The Times Online: "Sadly, the age of serve and volley is dead. A decade ago on the weekend before Wimbledon, when you looked at the list of potential men's champions after Pete Sampras at the top, all the true contenders, with the exception of Andre Agassi, had one thing in common: they attacked the net and followed up their serve with a rapier-like volley...Now look down a list of the top 10 men's seeds this year. How many of them are happy, or even equipped, to play serve and volley? Roger Federer, although he is reluctant to do so; Mario Ancic definitely; and Lleyton Hewitt can play a decent volley if he is forced to. But that is about it. Andy Roddick has a great serve, but he looks lost at the net whenever he is brave enough to try to back it up, and James Blake was lamentable in the Stella Artois final."

06-27-2006, 11:34 AM
Im suprised Cash finally said something worthwhile and truthful. he was the one who said last year after the USO "Federer will win the grandslam of tennis next year (06) and he will have 10 GS titles which will only put him 5 away from breaking Sampras' record"

Its so true though ,the art of serve volley is truley dead, the only chance left in this draw is Henman (ha :rolleyes: ) and Possibly mario, but he stays back quite alot too, he has a chance though to develop that game more.

06-27-2006, 10:05 PM
Im suprised Cash finally said something worthwhile and truthful. he was the one who said last year after the USO "Federer will win the grandslam of tennis next year (06) and he will have 10 GS titles which will only put him 5 away from breaking Sampras' record"

Its so true though ,the art of serve volley is truley dead, the only chance left in this draw is Henman (ha :rolleyes: ) and Possibly mario, but he stays back quite alot too, he has a chance though to develop that game more.

The sport is taken over by all baseliners, which is so sad. :sad: :sad: :sad:

06-27-2006, 10:32 PM
The Times
June 27, 2006

All are equal once rain comes down
By Neil Harman, Tennis Correspondent

THERE was no trail of white smoke from the referee’s office at the All England Club yesterday. Alan Mills, a prodigious puffer, has laid down his walkie-talkie after 26 years and Andrew Jarrett, his replacement, is not a dreaded weed man though after his initiation yesterday, he may be willing to give it a try.

The minute he pulled back his curtains yesterday morning, the new Wimbledon referee must have had an inkling that this was going to be one of those accursed days. Trying to steer 128 players through the first day of a championship is hard enough at any time but the 45-minute window of opportunity was abruptly closed and players condemned to kicking around in the locker rooms. Those lucky enough to have a house in the village could go back and watch re-runs of Pete Sampras showing how grass-court tennis was once played.

When Sampras was on the wane, he was beaten on Centre Court in the 2001 fourth round by Roger Federer, a bandanna-wearing upstart from Switzerland in the only match the two would play. Federer was in tears at the end of his five-set victory, not knowing it would be the prelude to a period when he would dominate a championship, as Sampras had done.

There was time yesterday for the world No 1 to walk out in a jacket bearing his name on the breast pocket — it has been at least half a century since anyone has looked so sartorially elegant marching towards what many consider to be the destiny of a fourth successive singles title. Don Budge, Gottfried von Cramm and Big Bill Tilden were resplendent jacket.

Federer set out against Richard Gasquet, of France, as though keen not to waste whatever time he might be afforded. He began and ended the first set with an ace and it was 26 minutes of the most divine tennis. Gasquet, winner of the grass-court title in Nottingham two days earlier has a potent game of his own, but he lost his first serve to a beguiling Swiss mix of backhand slices and popped forehand winners.

Gasquet, one of 13 men in the field to have won at least one grass-court title, is also a throwback to days when a tennis racket was more rapier than blunderbuss. There is a distinctly languid swish of implement through the air as the Frenchman takes a full cut at his groundstrokes, and his backhand is a thing of real beauty. Chances against Federer on grass are few and far between and when the 20-year-old had one chance, to have taken a break point in the fifth game, his shot down the line from close to the net was brilliantly intercepted by the Swiss for a winning forehand volley.

When the players were sent from the court, Federer led 6-3, 1-2, a significant step on the way but nothing terribly cut and dried. Play was continuing on a couple of the outside courts, thanks to a new level of discretion given to umpires to keep matches in progress at important moments. Before this year it was one-stop, all-stop but if an umpire deems his court is OK to play on, he can make that call. Everybody had run for cover before 2pm, with only six sets completed.

In 2004, two days were completely washed out and only the first Friday and second Monday and Tuesday were free of interruptions and it is ten years since Wimbledon has been completely rain free. The forecast for the next three days is much more encouraging but first-day backlogs are a frustrating inconvenience. The meteorological announcements — such a part of rainy-day folklore — were once the domain of Chris Gorringe, the former chief executive but with his retirement last year, they have been take over by Mike Morrissey, who has umpired five men’s singles final. The voice may be different, the gloomy prognostications, eerily similar.

Around the cluttered tables of the players’ restaurant the most enlivened discussions centred on the editorial in The Times yesterday by Venus Williams, the defending women’s champion, in eloquent support of equal prize-money — a debate that is beginning to give the management committee increasing cause for concern. Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova were first to send congratulatory messages yesterday.

The instransigents no longer outnumber those who believe that the club’s position is increasingly untenable by many. Headlines such as yesterday’s: “Wimbledon has sent me a message. I’m only a second-class champion” over Williams’s article are damaging to their standing and prestige. Into the fray has stepped Roger Draper, the chief executive of the LTA, who clearly did not have his fingers totally burned by the club’s decision to award more wild cards to British men into the singles than was the governing body’s original concept.

“My personal view,” Draper said, “is that we should have equal prize-money for men and women. Tennis needs to be a modern sport and my vote on the championships’ committee will be for equality in pay. The LTA jointly hosts this event, and we will continue to lobby and work with the All England Club to ensure that in future years, there is parity.”

One suspects that at the next meeting when the subject is raised, you will be able to shred the atmosphere with a knife.