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ATP FANTASY TENNIS Feb. 3, 2003

Safin, Moya & Novak Top Mirnyi's Picks
'The Beast' overlooks Hewitt, Agassi in his $20 million team.

Max Mirnyi is one of the toughest competitors on the ATP circuit, giving his opponents no quarter. And "The Beast", as he is known, is proving just as tough with his spending patterns in ATP Fantasy Tennis.

Top-ranked Lleyton Hewitt, who carries a $3 million price tag, and Andre Agassi are too rich for Mirnyi's liking. Instead Mirnyi has chosen Marat Safin, Carlos Moya and Jiri Novak as the highest-priced recruits in his team.

"I believe Moya's and Safin's games are much more dangerous than Lleyton's. I feel that everyone has a chance to beat Lleyton, because, although he's a great retriever, he doesn't seem to hurt many players. But with Moya and Safin they've got a lot of game behind their name. They both hit heavy serves and balls. I believe they'll do best on clay, which covers a lot of the season.

"I also want Jiri Novak in my team. He's learned a lot from all his years on the tour and now he fully deserves to be in the Top 10. I believe he has the mindset to continue to do as well as he did last year."

Of the cheaper player, Mirnyi likes Czech Radek Stepanek, who won through qualifying nine times last year and finished 61st in the ATP Champions Race 2002. "I've picked a few younger guys who are good and very hungry - Youzhny, Robredo, Blake, Stepanek."

Mirnyi said his best value pick was Argentine Franco Squillari. Ranked as high as No.11 in the ATP Entry System just over two years ago, Squillari finished a lowly 77th in the ATP Champions Race 2002. "Squillari had a little bit of an off year last year but I saw him working hard in Adelaide and he beat Federer in Sydney, so that makes me believe he's going to come back this year."

Submit your team(s) before March 10, when the regular season competition begins at the first Tennis Masters Series event of 2003, the Pacific Life Open at Indian Wells.

The winner of the all-season competition will receive a VIP backstage trip for two to the semifinals and final of Tennis Masters Cup Houston. (Check out the dream trip the inaugural Fantasy Tennis winner, Spain's Miguel Garde Garcia, enjoyed at Tennis Masters Cup Shanghai last year.)

Max Mirnyi's Fantasy Tennis Team
Marat Safin ($2,750,000)
Carlos Moya ($2,700,000)
Jiri Novak ($2,500,000)
Sebastien Grosjean ($2,100,000)
Sjeng Schalken ($1,850,000)
James Blake ($1,700,000)
Tommy Robredo ($1,600,000)
Mikhail Youzhny ($1,600,000)
Max Mirnyi ($1,350,000)
Radek Stepanek ($850,000)
Kristian Pless ($500,000)
Franco Squillari ($450,000)
 

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Mirnyi I think has partly chosen some of his favourite players to watch, but it's still a good selection, especially when you consider how Moya and Novak beat Hewitt and Agassi respectively on the same day in Shanghai last year - what a brilliant moment that was!

And I see he has the Sjengster ranked fairly highly on his list, so he obviously has good taste too.
 

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Dominik Hrbaty is the best value. I recomend you people to buy him.
 
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