The Sisters & Andre’s Huge Earnings; Rome's Huge Draw! -
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The Sisters & Andre’s Huge Earnings; Rome's Huge Draw!

The Sisters & Andre’s Huge Earnings
Also: Roddick, Bonder, Monica; Rome & Hamburg

By Matthew Cronin

Fred Mullane/Camerawork USA
Andre's '03 earnings are just over the sale price of his NorCal mansion.

We rarely discuss money (except our lack thereof), but SI’s list of the top 50 biggest annual earners amongst US athletes is worth taking note of. Only two women made the list are both are tennis players (and sisters): Serena Williams came in at No. 23 with $17.5 million, of which $15 million arrived in endorsement income. Venus came in at No. 41 with $15.1 million ($14 million in endorsements). Only one other tennis player made the NBA dominated-list, Andre Agassi, who placed No. 7 with $27 million ($24. 5 in endorsements).

Surprisingly, Andy Roddick is not on the list. How could A-Rod slip behind the likes of Dallas Maverick and No. 50 Michael "I can’t hit a big shot" Finley, who earned "just" $13. 7. Time for Andy’s agent, Ken Myerson, to get on the horn… Sports Business Journal reports that Venus is about to sign a multimillion-dollar deal with Amex. Maybe she’ll leap past Serena in ’04.

Former Top 10-er Lisa Bonder of LA has been spending a lot of time competitively jumping horses. Watch out Martina Hingis... Seen at the Laureus World Sports Award in Estoril looking spry in a back evening dress and high heels: Monica Seles, who has said she’s returning at Roland Garros after a year off letting her bum feet recover…. Speaking of RG, someone hit this reporter on his noggin with a leaping overhead for hanging onto the Martina Navratilova newsletter for two weeks, figuring that she wouldn’t decide on playing a Slam singles match until next week. Less than a day after we posted our story about her singles plans, she enters the French. Good call by her, bad one by us… Recent tennis-related passings we should note: comedian Alan King (always a fixture at the US Open); Joe Cullman (former Phillip Morris CEO who’s money helped the Virginia Slims tour get off the ground); and Dwight Davis III (Davis Cup founder Dwight’s grandson and USTA activist).

One of our favorite companies, Sportswall, signed a deal with the USPTA, which joins the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA), World TeamTennis, Billie Jean King and Brian Gottfried as partners of the Santa Barbara based firm. The company creates products, which combine the high-charge of computer games with the simultaneous use of hands, feet, eyes and ears to achieve a total body workout. Sportswall founder Catherine Lamberti and her partners are on the forefront of fighting inactivity and obesity by employing enjoyable technological elements into very lively backboard and play areas. We’ve seen their various products and can say they are certainly more enjoyable to use than the traditional wall at your local high school.

Wilander Says Fed Better Than Pete; Roger to Meet Moya

It’s nice to see senior pro tennis alive and well in Europe. Its death in the U.S. was sad and ugly. In Rome, Thomas Muster won his first Delta Tour of Champions title with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Mats Wilander. Muster began his run by saving four match points against John McEnroe. "That was a Muster classic," the Austrian said.

Here’s some not-so-classic and very premature comments from Wilander on Roger Federer:
"I think Federer is most probably a better tennis player than Pete Sampras was, and I think he will go into all four majors every year for the next 5, 6, 7 years, if he’s healthy, thinking he can win – and I think the other players know that he can win. I think that even spills over into the French Open. Sampras was never a threat at the French Open but he was very dominant in the other three. I think Federer can win all four of them."

A better player than Pete? Does the Swiss have 12 more Slam titles that we aren’t aware of?
Federer did score a significant win on Thursday in Hamburg by wasting Fernando Gonzalez 7-5, 6-1, to move into the quarters. The ‘02 Hamburg champ will play Rome champ Carlos Moya in the next round , certainly the most anticipated quarter in a while. Moya defeated countryman Fernando Verdasco 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, to improve to 10-0 against Spaniards this season. This is the first meeting on clay between the two with the fed winning the previous three matches indoors. "It's a tough tournament, but I'm good enough to beat all these people,’ Fed said. "It doesn't matter whom I will play on clay. As long as my level is alright. I consider myself to be a clay court specialist as well, otherwise I wouldn't have won tournaments like Munich and Hamburg and the finals in Rome and the Davis Cup matches. I know how good I am."

El hombre pequeno con el juego grande extended his clay court winning streak to 29 matches with a 7-6(2), 6-4 victory over No. 16 Tommy Robredo . Defending champion Guillermo Coria will meet unseeded David Ferrer of Spain in the quarters, who upset Al Costa. No. 30 is looking very good.
Lleyton Hewitt took out Tommy Haas on Wednesday and then scored a decent 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 win over Brazilian Flavio Saretta. Marat Safin fell in three to Jurgen Melzer. Safin hasn’t posted a huge win since the Aussie Open. Hewitt hasn’t gone very deep since Rotterdam.

Serena to Face Kuzy in Italian-filled Rome draw
WTa Tour
Jen visited a Whirlpool store in Rome, where the manager showed off a one-hour air dry cycle.The WTA will produce a terrific quarter in Romewhen Serena Williams takes on No. 9 Svetlana Kuznetsova, who was softened up by Ai Sugiyama in a 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(4) win. Serena blew out Dally Randriantefy 6-1, 6-3. Kuzy will have to play more aggressively than she did against Venus in Warsaw final, but may not have the legs to stand toe to toe with the well-rested Serena. Nonetheless, it will be a huge test for Ms. Williams.
Amelie Mauresmo cruised past Conchita Martinez 6-3, 6-4 but will now have to face home country favorite Silvia Farina Elia in the lion’s den. Farina has said in the past that she doesn’t like the pressure of playing at Foro Italico but at age 30, maybe she’s learned to relish the energy of the occasion. The mighty Aphrodite must have been with her a 7-6 (3), 6-0 win over Maria Sharapova.

Italy nearly

had three native daughters in the quarters. Ferocious Francesca Schiavone clipped

WTA Tour
Farina overcame her Foro Italico jitters. Elena Likhovtseva 6-1, 6-3. She’ll face Vera Zvonareva, who mashed Elena Bovina 6-3, 6-0. Bovina is going nowhere fast.

However, the delightful Flavia Pennetta went down in flames to Anna Smashnova-Pistolesi 6-2, 6-2.
In a sense, you could consider Pistolesi an Italian since she married a native, her coach and former tour player, Claudio. You can also give Jen Capriati an Italian-American nod. JCap torched Paola Suarez 6-2, 6-2. The two semi-Italians will play each other. Be wary of a Claudio-Stefano Cap brawl breaking out in the stands.
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