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9,514 Posts
Discussion Starter #41
Capriati, Williams Thrust Into Spotlight
The New York Times
March 10, 1996

Women's tennis, often criticized for its lack of intriguing early-round encounters, served up the ultimate in marquee razzle-dazzle today in the State Farm Evert Cup.

Top-ranked Steffi Graf, after being sidetracked by another bout with foot surgery, made her 1996 debut successfully. Venus Williams, the phenom whose time has not quite arrived, made her 1996 debut unsuccessfully. And tennis's prodigal daughter, Jennifer Capriati, currently engaged in yet another comeback from two years of self-instigated exile, pounded a fellow 19-year-old into a progressively unconditional surrender.

If Capriati heard the gossipy whispers and more welcoming cheers that accompanied her as she strolled onto an American court for the first time in 16 months, she didn't acknowledge them. In keeping with her new take on tennis, along with everything and everyone within its orbit, she wore a neutral expression from start to finish in her 6-4, 6-1 defeat of 50th-ranked Rita Grande of Italy.

Grande was not overly impressed by this year's version of Capriati: despite the desert haze, she said she spied some inconsistency in the Capriati serve and backhand "that weren't there before."

The shaky opening set featured seven consecutive service breaks. "I was able to return it better than serve it," Capriati said. "I definitely got into my groove in the second set."

Capriati said the one thing she trusts in her game is her strokes: "You don't lose your skill or your strokes, but it gets to be a different perspective when you take a lot of time off," she said of a hiatus that began after a first-round loss at the 1993 United States Open. "But you become more aware of the different aspects of the game."

Told by one male reporter that her lipstick and glazed hair lend an air of sophistication she didn't seem to have in the old days, she did a double take. "I guess I'm not a baby anymore," replied Capriati, who came here coachless and sponsorless with an entourage of two -- her mother, Denise, and boyfriend, Ryan.

Graf was treated with the utmost respect by No. 399th Kristina Triska, who let the German dictate at her usual March Hare pace: the 16-year-old Swede succumbed, 6-0, 6-1, in just 36 minutes.

"I wish I had been forced a little bit more," Graf said.

But Williams, appearing in her first event for 1996 and just the sixth event of what has been predicted to be a stellar career, received no star treatment from Julie Halard-Decugis. The 15-year-old Williams, whose modest ranking of 216th is far from commensurate with her advance billing, was undone by a plethora of rookie mistakes and lost, 6-2, 6-4.

Even so, it was the loser who trudged off to be quizzed about herself, and the great expectations that surround her, on international television. The winner, the 10th-seeded Halard, was left to alone to bathe, quite literally, in her relative anonymity. While Williams, who owned a six-figure contract with Reebok before she'd even played six matches, was being wired for television, the 25-year-old Halard was back in her hotel room taking a celebratory bath.

"For sure, before I was 17 I had no attention," said Halard, who has already won two titles this year. "And even now, I have nothing of the attention or pressure that probably she has.

"She has a long way to go, but it's better to go slowly on this tour: she needs to have some pleasures of life."

Williams, who will play just six events this year, agreed that there's no hurry to expand her workload even though she realizes that flaws like the 10 double faults and 41 unforced errors she made today will only be siphoned away by match experience. Williams survived another new experience, the qualifying competition here, to earn her date with Halard.

"If I worried too much about pressure, about winning matches, I wouldn't get better; it would be an impediment, but I know in the future, I'll be there," said Williams, who seems equally self-composed whether she wins or loses. For now, at least.

-------------------- Ivanisevic in Another Final

ROTTERDAM, Netherlands, March 9 (AP) -- Goran Ivanisevic defeated Guillaume Raoux, 6-4, 6-4, in the ABN AMRO event today to reach his sixth final of the year. In the title match, he will face Yevgeny Kafelnikov, who scored a 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 victory over Tim Henman. Henman made the semifinals via a walkover when top-seeded Pete Sampras withdrew Friday with an injury to his right foot.

9,514 Posts
Discussion Starter #42
On the Comeback Trail at 19, Capriati Returns to the Dominating Style of Her Youth
The New York Times
March 11, 1996

She was all anticipation and annihilation during her match, and, for the first time in too many years, all smiles and serenity afterward.

Jennifer Capriati, combining a madcap pace with an intuitive aim for the sidelines, put her own official stamp of approval on her tennis comeback with a 6-0, 6-0 demolition of Taipei's Shi-Ting Wang this afternoon at the State Farm Evert Cup.

I'm an athlete and I never want to lose it," Capriati said of a gift she reneged on at 16 but has rekindled at 19 with a more mature perspective and passion. "I always knew it was still inside me somewhere."

Quavery in her first-round match, today Capriati seemed to recreate her former self, the assured competitor who wielded an uncanny ability to mount a full-fledged attack without even leaving the baseline. Her opponent, humbled by a barrage of topspin, was surely afraid to even approach the baseline.

After bumbling through eight double faults in her opener, Capriati committed just three today, and the intensity of her returns, lethal off either side, rendered Wang thoroughly defenseless.

"I'm just taking it moment by moment," said Capriati, who recalled winning an Olympic gold medal by playing precisely that way. "That would be something, now that I've come back," she said of the prospect of being an Olympian again someday.

Her performance here was a throwback that conjured up a younger, happier version of herself.

"It just feels great to be playing well," said Capriati, who believes her eight months of training for this "valid" comeback have made her fitter than ever.

Capriati never wavered from the task at hand. Exhibiting a behavior that's rote to champions, she took particular care not to show her floundering opponent any glimmer of hope. Perhaps last weekend's Florida practice session with Steffi Graf, who has played a significant role in Capriati's tennis rehabilitation, reacquainted the 19-year-old with her killer instinct.

"I just tried to close it out, and the way to do that is to win every point," said the unranked Capriati, who won 58 points, twice as many as her victim.

It was, in every way, a performance that came off without a hitch, and Capriati, who next faces the fifth-seeded Chanda Rubin, was properly energized by it.

But nobody else on the day's slate had a breezy 43 minute outing like hers.

Overheated and overworked, Mary Joe Fernandez, the defending champion, survived rotisserie-strength noontime heat in her second-round match against 78th-ranked Anna Smashnova.

The 6-0, 2-6, 6-1 victory by Fernandez required a frying time of 1 hour 55 minutes with the stadium thermometer set at 117 degrees. The conditions, which sent one heat-prostrated player to the hospital on Friday, were dangerous enough to require a 15-minute timeout between the second and third sets if either player requested it. Fernandez was grateful for the option.

"The heat really got to me; I got a little dizzy and a little nauseous," said Fernandez, who felt she played "good tennis" in the opening set but that she was almost unable to function during the second. "All of a sudden everything left, it was gone," she said.

The air-conditioned hiatus was restorative to the eighth-seeded Fernandez for two reasons: it curtailed her challenger's momentum and gave her a chance to compose herself for one last set.

"I tried to take the initiative right away because I knew I wasn't going to be able to last," she said.

Like Fernandez, fourth-seeded Kimiko Date needed three queasy sets to advance. Date defeated Ruxandra Dragomir by 6-7 (5-7), 6-1, 6-2. And the second-ranked Conchita Martinez, distracted by blisters, lost her second-set focus but, revived by a fresh pair of socks and courtside treatment, advanced, 6-1, 2-6, 6-2, against Florencia Labat.


Muster Is No. 1 Again

MEXICO CITY, March 10 (AP) -- Thomas Muster reclaimed the No. 1 ranking from Pete Sampras today by defeating Jiri Novak, 7-6 (7-3), 6-2, to win the Mexican Open for the fourth time.

Muster, who on Feb. 12 became the 13th player to hold the No. 1 spot in the 23-year history of the rankings, was passed by Sampras after one week at No. 1.

Sampras won the Sybase Open in San Jose, Calif., on Feb. 18 to recapture the top spot, but Muster's victory, coupled with Sampras's withdrawal from the quarterfinals in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, because of a sprained right foot, catapulted Muster back to No. 1 by 19 points on the ATP Tour computer.

Muster is the first player since John McEnroe to win an event four consecutive years. McEnroe won in Philadelphia 1982-85.

9,514 Posts
Discussion Starter #43
Gavaldon falls in the heat of the day - Halard-Decugis rates as possible spoiler in Evert Cup matches
The San Diego Union-Tribune
March 11, 1996
JERRY MAGEE, Staff Writer

It took the current winningest player in women's tennis three sets and one whirlwind finish yesterday to get past Angelica Gavaldon in the State Farm Evert Cup.

Steffi Graf? Monica Seles? Conchita Martinez? Nah, none of those.

The winningest player of the moment is Julie Halard-Decugis of France, 20-3 for the season following her second-round 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 conquest of Gavaldon, of Coronado, Mexico City and Key Biscayne, Fla.

Gavaldon, training in Florida, has lot of addresses. She's had lots of problems with her game, too, her ranking having dropped like a stone from No. 36 at the conclusion of 1995 to No. 80.

Yesterday, though, she appeared bound for a breakthrough when she rallied behind some deft lobs to assume a 3-0, third-set lead over Halard-Decugis.

Then her concentration failed her and the French woman, seeded No. 10, came on to mark herself as a threat to Graf and anybody else in this $550,000 event at Hyatt Grand Champions. Halard-Decugis swept the final three games with the loss of only one point.

"I don't think it was her playing better; it was definitely me," said Gavaldon. "I probably started thinking too much. You just have to hit the ball, not think."

Anybody thinking yesterday would have been advised to think cool. It was warm out there, with the temperature on the stadium court measured at 120 degrees. In these "extreme weather conditions," defending champion Mary Joe Fernandez asked for and was granted a 10-minute break following the second set of her match against Anna Smashnova of Israel.

Fernandez said she was experiencing dizziness and nausea. "For a time, I was gone," she admitted. But the break revived her and she beat Smashnova 6-0, 2-6, 6-1.

Some other favorites also struggled. Kimiko Date of Japan (No. 4) labored to a 6-7 (7-5), 6-1, 6-2 victory over Ruxan Dragomir of Romania, and Conchita Martinez (No. 2) had to sweat a bit before dismissing Florencia Labat of Argentina 6-1, 2-6, 6-2.

One contestant who breezed was Jennifer Capriati, who did a 6-0, 6-0 number of Shi-Ting Wang of China in 43 minutes.

Halard-Decugis clearly is somebody to watch here. Since she was married in September to Arnaud Decugis, her coach, she's been moving strongly through the rankings -- from No. 51 after '95 to No. 18.

Her next opponent: Graf. She's 0-7 against the German champion, but this time she would seem to be catching her at a propitious moment. Graf has played only one match since last November, that here Saturday against Kristina Triska, a 16-year-old from France ranked No. 399.

Against Gavaldon, Halard-Decugis was cruising after a first set in which she took six straight games.

"I knew I was playing terrible," she said. "I wasn't getting more than two balls in court. I told myself all I needed to do was start playing my game. I said vamos -- come on."

Come on, she did. Halard-Decugis was running Gavaldon, but it was the French woman who appeared to be the more spent in the third set -- until Gavaldon permitted a 4-3 advantage to escape her.

9,514 Posts
Discussion Starter #44
Heat is on, so are Fernandez and Martinez - Davenport and Capriati win.
Halard-Decugis advances to face top-ranked Graf.

The Press-Enterprise
Riverside, CA
March 11, 1996
Jim Short

INDIAN WELLS -- Sunday was a day for wobbly winners at the Evert Cup.

Conchita Martinez wobbled because of her feet. Mary Joe Fernandez wobbled because of the heat.

Both required brief delays after their second sets. And both won their second-round matches at the Hyatt Grand Champions Resort, where the temperature on stadium court reached 117 degrees.

Martinez, who was treated for blisters, rebounded from a poor second set to beat Florencia Labat of Argentina, 6-1, 2-6, 6-2. And Fernandez, who availed herself of the 10-minute break the WTA allows for extreme weather conditions, prevailed over Anna Smashnova of Israel, 6-0, 2-6, 6-1.

Lindsay Davenport, Jennifer Capriati and Julie Halard-Decugis also advanced, among others, but managed to avoid any medical maladies in the process.

Capriati had the easiest time of anyone. She breezed to a 6-0, 6-0 victory over Shi-Ting Wang of Tapei in a 43-minute match played after the heat had abated in the 11,500-seat stadium, and next faces No. 5 seed Chanda Rubin.

Davenport, of Murrieta, the last person to begin play in the tournament, moved into the third round with a 6-3, 7-5 win over Mariaan DeSwardt. And Halard-Decugis, the winner of two titles already this year, struggled to a 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 win over Angelica Gavaldon of Coronado to set up a third-round match against top-ranked Steffi Graf.

That match between Graf and Halard-Decugis will be the first one on stadium court today.

If there is a theme thus far to the Evert Cup, which from today on will be played in conjunction with the men's Champions Cup, it is the heat.

It was sweltering on court on Friday, when Joanette Kruger of South Africa collapsed with heat stroke during her first-round match and, after a comfortable day on Saturday, the temperature went up again.

Fernandez, the defending champion, said she availed herself of the allowable break after becoming concerned during the second set.

"The heat really got to me," said Fernandez, the eighth seed this year. "I started feeling it at the end of the first set.

"Things were going well and all of a sudden everything was different. I started getting dizzy and nauseous. For a few games there, I was just gone."

Fernandez said that during the break she was able to rest and replenish her body chemicals.

Then, she said, "in the third set, I tried to take control right away. I knew I wasn't going to be able to last (for a long set), so the first ball I had I tried to take advantage of it.

"It helped me to get a (service) break to start the third set and get ahead. You always feel better when you're up than when you're behind."

The irony of the situation is that Fernandez lives and trains in Miami, where heat and humidity are frequent problems.

"It doesn't matter how used to it you are," she said. "When it's that hot, I don't care how good of shape you're in, it's hard to play."

Martinez, the 1994 Wimbledon champion who's ranked No. 2 in the world, wasn't affected by the heat in the same way as Fernandez.

Martinez's problem were the blisters that were forming because "it was so hot and my feet were sweaty and my socks were getting wrinkled."

So after the second set, in which she played poorly, Martinez changed her socks and the WTA trainer sprayed "some duller" on her feet to mask any discomfort.

She said the blisters had nothing to do with the sudden change in her form, from an excellent first set to the bad second. She simply started missing the shots she'd been making.

"I was leading, 2-0, and suddenly I started missing a little. Then suddenly it was 3-2 her favor and I started getting upset and missing more balls, and it was impossible to get back (in a rhythm).

"I'd love it not to happen again. If it does, I might not get it back at all."

9,514 Posts
Discussion Starter #45
Surviving Players Feeling Heat, but It's Not From Opponents
Tennis: Fernandez, Capriati and Martinez have more trouble with 120-degree temperatures.

March 11, 1996
Los Angeles Times

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. — A blast of hot air and inhospitable conditions greeted defending champion Mary Joe Fernandez upon her return to the State Farm Evert Cup on Sunday, causing momentary discomfort but no lasting damage.

Fernandez started well, faltered, then recovered to outlast Anna Smashnova, 6-0, 2-6, 6-1, in a second round match that took 1 hour and 55 minutes on another hot day at the Hyatt Grand Champions. Fernandez called for a 10-minute "extreme weather conditions" timeout between the second and third sets, when the court temperature was measured at 120 degrees.

After the match, someone made mention of it being a "dry heat" but Fernandez only laughed.

"When it's that hot, I don't care about humidity or dryness," Fernandez said, "I don't care how good of shape you are in, it's still hard."

Others thought so too. Second-seeded Conchita Martinez had less trouble with Florencia Labat, whom she defeated, 6-1, 2-6, 6-2, than she had with the heat. Martinez' feet were sweating so badly that blisters developed.

When she asked for a few moments to change her socks, or a three-minute injury time out, the chair umpire offered to invoke the 10-minute weather rule. Martinez happily agreed.

Unfazed by the elements was Jennifer Capriati, whose clobbering of Shi-Ting Wang, 6-0, 6-0, evoked images of yesteryear. Capriati swung away, hit the lines and found the angles. Her serve improved and, where she had hesitated closing out her first-round match, Capriati pounced on her multiple opportunities. She converted six of eight break points during the 43-minute match.

"I started off better today," Capriati said. "It's been an exhausting day, waiting around [to play] in the heat. Maybe that calmed my nerves."

Still skittish with media, Capriati was more comfortable than she had been after her first round match. But it's clear that at 19, she's never going to return to being the chipper teen that so many wish her to be. As she pointed out, "I'm not a baby anymore."

Playing in only her second tournament in 16 months, Capriati will be fully tested by her next opponent--a third-round match with Chanda Rubin.

Martinez, ranked No. 2, made her first appearance here, without the fanfare that attends Steffi Graf or Capriati. By now--with a career that has a curious obscurity considering her ranking--the former Wimbledon champion is accustomed to being overlooked.

Asked if it bothers her that the top-seeded Graf is already seen as the de facto winner of the tournament, Martinez shrugged.

"People are going to talk, you've got to understand that," she said. "Steffi, she has such a record, there is a lot to talk about."

Martinez looked fit and in control during most of the match, but again displayed her trademark lapse of concentration, which cost her the second set.

"It was 2-0, then suddenly it was 3-2 for her," Martinez said. "It was impossible to go back. I don't know if it was concentration or not."

Martinez recovered well enough to convincingly close out the match.

9,514 Posts
Discussion Starter #46
Game's top names share Indian Wells tournament spotlight
Doug Smith
USA Today
March 12, 1996

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. - Coed professional tennis is making its California debut this week with the world's hottest players sharing the desert stage.

The women's State Farm Evert Cup, which began Friday, and men's Newsweek Champions Cup, which began Monday, join next week's Lipton Championships at Key Biscayne, Fla., as the only [sic] non-grand slam events where both sexes compete before the same crowds.

"This is something I've been trying to do for 15 years," says tournament director Charlie Pasarell, a former highly ranked pro who moved to this desert community in 1974. He established a men's tour event at La Quinta in 1981, moved it to Indian Wells in '87, then in '89 helped start a women's event.

"To have the women play one week and the men the next was great," he says, "but I always believed having them play the same time would be better. I need a bigger stadium."

That's especially so this year, with 17 of the top 20 in the men's rankings vying for $2.2 million in prize money. The field includes Austria's Thomas Muster, who this week returned to the No. 1 ranking but is seeded second to defending champion Pete Sampras. No. 3 Andre Agassi also is entered, and any of the three could be No. 1 by the end of the week.

Despite pullouts by Monica Seles and Gabriela Sabatini, the women's field has 11 of the top 20 players - led by No. 1 Steffi Graf of Germany - vying for $550,000. The top attraction, however, might be a player who isn't even ranked: Jennifer Capriati, who has dominated her first two matches here to set up an intriguing third-round clash with Chanda Rubin.

Capriati, 19, ranked as high as No. 6 before well-chronicled problems forced her out of the sport in 1993, says the long absence hasn't dulled her desire or skills.

"I think you get a different perspective when you take a lot of time off and then get back," says Capriati, who played well in her return last month at Essen, Germany. "You grow in many ways. You lose your fitness and timing and all that, but you don't lose any of your skills."

Capriati's finest hour came in the 1992 Olympics when she won a gold, beating Graf in the final. Ironically, it was Graf who quietly helped Capriati find her way back. The German star invited Capriati to her New York home last fall, and two weeks ago they practiced together in Florida.

"It was great hanging out with her and being around her," Capriati says. "She's a very nice, down-to-earth, cool person."

9,514 Posts
Discussion Starter #47
Davenport was a boomerang baby! :lol:

A return to roots, success - Lindsay Davenport has come home to Southern California and is finding renewed success.
The Press-Enterprise
Riverside, CA
March 13, 1996
Jim Short

INDIAN WELLS -- She is just 19, which is awfully young to be going back to her roots, but that's what Lindsay Davenport has done.

She tried spreading her wings last year and found that wasn't all it was cracked up to be.

So now she is back in Southern California, living and training in Newport Beach during the week, spending weekends with her family in Murrieta and feeling rejuvenated.

"I finally feel really healthy again and happy and definitely in the right direction on the right street," said Davenport, who last year had three coaches, three injuries and results that dropped her from No. 6 in the world at midyear to No. 12 at season's end, and then to No. 14 early this year.

"I haven't felt this way in a really long time. Obviously a bad match could creep up. Maybe I lose tomorrow. But I think that I'm finally on the right way to get back into the top 10."

When Davenport sat and talked, it was Monday afternoon. Tuesday afternoon, she went out and played a match that was mediocre, if not bad. But after squandering a 5-1 first-set lead, she fought back to beat Judith Wiesner of Austria, 7-6 (8-6), 6-1, and advance to the Evert Cup quarterfinals at the Hyatt Grand Champions Resort.

She was joined there during the day by second-seeded Conchita Martinez, young Lindsay Lee and Chanda Rubin, the fifth seed and her opponent this afternoon.

Meanwhile, top-ranked Steffi Graf became the first semifinalist with her 6-4, 6-1 victory over ninth seed Amanda Coetzer. That match was a replay of the 1994 Evert Cup final, won by Graf, 6-0, 6-4.

Martinez started the day with an easy 6-0, 6-3 victory over Ai Sugiyama. Then, late in the afternoon Lee, 18, knocked off sixth-seeded Brenda Schultz-McCarthy, 7-5, 6-7 (8-6), 6-3.

Rubin advanced by turning what was expected to be a tense battle with Jennifer Capriati into a 6-3, 6-3 victory Tuesday night.

The impending match with Rubin is just one concern for Davenport, the 12th ranked and seventh-seeded player who is looking to put memories of 1995 to rest.

"Last year was an extremely tough year for me," Davenport said. "It started with pneumonia at the beginning of the year, then a stress fracture in my shin, and then my back at the end of the year.

"The whole year I was struggling. I never was able to practice more than a couple of days in a row; I always had to stop. I was so happy when the year was over."

It didn't help, either, that often during the year she heard people question her desire and her work habits and her training regimen.

It was the same sort of criticism leveled at her close friend and doubles partner Mary Joe Fernandez, and Davenport said whenever they do discuss it "we laugh about it.

"She's too thin and weak, and I'm too big and slow. It's funny. We can joke about it, now. At the time, it's hard to take. But you just can't (answer with words)."

Davenport knows the best response is action. So this winter, she reunited with former USC star Robert Van't Hof, who has worked with her over the years.

"I've practiced really hard now since the beginning of December, lost a lot of weight - or tried to - and really tried to get to the top," Davenport said.

"We've been working really hard and running a lot and lifting weights. It's helped to be injury-free. It's never (been) that I never wanted to work and that I was lazy. That's never been true. It's just that something was always wrong."

So far this season, everything has been fine. The runner-up to Monica Seles in Sydney, Australia, after a good three-set final, Davenport reached the round of 16 at the Australian Open and the quarterfinals at Tokyo, and she is 10-3 for the year after her two straight-set victories in this event.

Credit much of that to home cooking.

"I spent a couple of months in Miami last year, and I really missed my family and friends here," Davenport said.

"I kind of didn't know what I really wanted, and I was always kind of floating. You know how you go through (a period) where, OK, family is great, but I want to try and do this on my own?

"I think I grew up a lot last year. I always thought I was very mature, but I think I kind of grew up a lot to realize how valuable they were, especially when I was always down and had been hurt.

"They were great."

NOTES - Chanda Rubin said her game plan against Jennifer Capriati was to be aggressive and take charge, and she felt that overall she was able to do that in her 6-3, 6-3 victory. "I knew at any time that I couldn't let up, that she would be in the match," Rubin said. I kind of let her back into the match in the second set. I pretty much figured that I needed to keep a few more balls in play, and that was all I needed to do at the end" . . . Capriati, playing just her fourth match on the comeback trail, was an accomplice in her own defeat, committing 46 unforced errors in the two sets. Rubin had 31 . . . Lindsay Davenport, on Capriati's comeback: "I think she has gone through a lot of troubles and to come back to a life that is very demanding, but gave her a lot of success, can only be a positive story. She seems like she is a totally different person than when she was off the tour. She seems just kind of maybe at peace with herself" . . . Lindsay Lee's victory over Brenda Schulz-McCarthy was Lee's first against a player ranked in the top 10. However, she is 2-2 all-time against Schultz-McCarty, who moved into the top 10 (No. 9) for the first time last week. Lee, who will play No. 2 Conchita Martinez at 6:30 tonight, jumped from 303 to 47 in the rankings last year and is No. 49 now . . . Davenport and Mary Joe Fernandez, who have won three titles and reached the finals of another event in their four tournaments together, are the top seeds in doubles. They won their second-round match Tuesday over Anke Huber and Christina Singer, 6-2, 4-6, 7-5.

Women's Singles (Third Round) - Lindsay Davenport (7) def. Judith Wiesner (15), 7-6 (8-6), 6-1; Conchita Martinez (2) def. Ai Sugiyama, 6-0, 6-3; Lindsay Lee def. Brenda Schultz-McCarthy (6), 7-5, 6-7 (6-8), 6-3; Chanda Rubin (5) def. Jennifer Capriati 6-3, 6-3.

Quarterfinals - Steffi Graf (1) def. Amanda Coetzer (9) 6-4, 6-1.

9,514 Posts
Discussion Starter #48
Becker, Capriati Knocked Out
Tennis: Clay-courter Costa scores upset on soft hard court. Rubin too much for Capriati.

March 13, 1996
Los Angeles Times

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. — There was no boom-boom in Boris Becker and only flashes of the old bing-bang in Jennifer Capriati here Tuesday.

And so the second day of this combined men's and women's tennis extravaganza in the desert, while continuing to attract impressive early week crowds, was a loser in the name game.

Becker, two-time winner of the men's tournament here that now goes by the name Newsweek Champions Cup, and a large box-office draw even without his recent Australian Open victory, lost to a journeyman clay-court player named Carlos Costa, 6-3, 7-5. Becker led in the second set, 4-1 and 5-2, and had a 40-love lead on his serve at 5-5, yet still managed to lose to a Spaniard who doesn't really feel comfortable on a tennis court unless his socks are red and his nostrils are caked. Costa, ranked No. 38 in the world to Becker's No. 4, has won six titles, all on clay, in his seven-plus years on the ATP tour.

Capriati, playing in only her second tournament in her well-documented comeback and attracting superstar-like attention, found her game not quite ready for prime time in a 6-3, 6-3 loss to fifth-seeded Chanda Rubin in the featured evening match of the State Farm Evert Cup. A victory would have put Capriati in the quarterfinals against Lindsay Davenport, possibly en route to a semifinal matchup with Steffi Graf that would have had the tennis world gushing.

But when her match was over, Capriati, once as high as No. 6 in the world before she left the tour after the U.S. Open in 1993, seemed to have more perspective about her current place in tennis than so many others who seem to be looking for an instant reincarnation of Chris Evert.

"First of all, I mean, she has been playing and I haven't," Capriati said of Rubin.

Becker's serve-and-volley power game normally would have prevailed on the hard courts at Indian Wells, even if these hard courts are fairly soft and medium slow. But Becker's normal plodding start never un-plodded, and his failure to close out the second set after building big leads puzzled even the normally analytical German.

"I'd like to know too," Becker said. "I have to go back now and think about why I am not able to play good tennis."

The afternoon matches at the Hyatt Grand Champions Stadium were played in swirling wind, and some expected Becker to point to that as part of the problem. Instead, he said, logically, "Unfortunately, it is the wind for both players."

For his part, Costa was less than bubbly after what was only his sixth victory against a top 10 player in his career. "I didn't play well, he didn't play well," Costa said.

Capriati had a similar assessment of her match. "I don't think I played as well as I would have liked," she said. "I think I forced the error a lot more this match."

Facing a player who hit just as hard off the ground and who was a step or so quicker, Capriati still managed to battle back from deficits of 0-3 and 1-4 in the second set. She held for 2-4, then got a boost from a fired-up crowd and eventually broke Rubin for 3-4.

But Rubin turned it right around by breaking back at love, winning the game by cranking back a forehand winner off a 97-mph first serve from Capriati at love-40.

Tennis Notes

Steffi Graf, co-holder of the No. 1 ranking with Monica Seles, continued her comeback as if she'd never left, making her way into the semifinals with a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Amanda Coetzer. Coetzer was one of only two players to beat Graf last year, the other being Mariann de Swardt. . . . Conchita Martinez, seeded second, also cruised along, defeating Ai Sugiyama, 6-0, 6-3. . . . Seventh-seeded Lindsay Davenport got by 15th-seeded Judith Wiesner, 7-6 (8-6), 6-1, but sixth-seeded Brenda Schultz-McCarthy lost to Lindsay Lee, 7-5, 6-7 (8-6), 6-3.

In men's matches, Renzo Furlan and Jonathan Stark eliminated seeded players, and the man with the tournament's best name, Hernan Gumy, almost did the same against No. 9 Wayne Ferreira. Furlan ousted big-serving Marc Rosset, seeded 10th, 2-6, 6-1, 6-2, and Stark beat No. 15 Malavai Washington, 6-3, 7-5. Ferreira struggled before getting by the 54th-ranked Argentine, 6-7 (7-1), 7-5, 6-0. . . . Other winners of note on the men's side were Stefan Edberg, the 1990 champion here, who has drifted out of the top 50 at No. 55 for the first time in 12 years, and Australian newcomer Mark Philippoussis. Edberg beat Jiri Novak, 6-1, 6-2, and Philippoussis beat Francisco Clavet, 6-3, 6-0. . . . Tuesday's attendance for the day session was 11,700, or 200 above the designated sellout.


Today's Matches


* Lindsay Davenport vs. Chanda Rubin

* Nathalie Tauziat vs. Kimiko Date

* Lindsay Lee vs. Conchita Martinez


* Michael Chang vs. Stefan Edberg

* Pete Sampras vs. Alex Corretja

* Andre Agassi vs. Sjeng Schalken

* Adrian Voinea vs. Thomas Muster

* Byron Black vs. Goran Ivanisevic

* Jim Courier vs. Todd Woodbridge

* Paul Haarhuis vs. Thomas Enqvist

* Todd Martin vs. Mark Woodforde

9,514 Posts
Discussion Starter #49
He Still Gives Full Day's Work
March 13, 1996
Los Angeles Times

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. — The phone rings. Charlie Pasarell answers it with a sigh. It might be Pete Sampras wanting a tee time at one of the area's golf courses. It might be Steffi Graf looking for an early-morning practice court.

Maybe one of the players' mothers is unhappy with the hotel room he got for her. Some player may have forgotten where he parked the courtesy car. Perhaps someone collapsed from the heat--or from a previously undiagnosed disorder--out on the grandstand court.

He glances up at a TV monitor. A Wimbledon champion, the reigning Australian Open champion, is down a set and blowing a 4-1 lead in the second set to a nobody. The tournament is about to lose a major drawing card for the weekend finals.

A sponsor is calling. He wants to set up a cocktail party. How can they go about getting the top tennis players to attend?

It's just a day in the life of a tennis promoter. And Charlie's days do not end with the last double fault of the evening session. Long after the players have zippered their rackets and gone to their courtesy cars, you can see Charlie prowling the empty courts and seats by himself, like the Phantom of the Opera, looking for problems.

Putting on a tennis tournament is like putting on a war. First of all, you need an army. You need financing. You need a plan. You need the occasional fallback. You have to deal with frustrations.

Everything in Charlie Pasarell's life has taught him to deal with adversity. He did not roll out of bed with a 140-mph serve, an unreturnable forehand, a devastating serve-and-volley game. He had to work for points. Victories took a long time.

When you know that Charlie Pasarell took part in the longest match ever played at Wimbledon--it lasted two days--and that the scores were 24-22, 6-1, 14-16, 3-6 and 9-11, and his opponent was the incomparable Pancho Gonzalez, you know all you need to about Charlie's tenacity.

He was one of those world-class players who fell just short of star status, a career quarterfinalist in the Grand Slam tournaments. But he did win his singles titles, six one year, and he was doubles finalist twice in the U.S. Open. He was like a driver who finishes fifth in the Indy 500, a factor but not a finalist. Still, you had to beat him. Pasarell never double-faulted away a tournament or netted a volley at match point.

He dealt with it.

"On a good day, I might be able to play with a [Jimmy] Connors or a John Newcombe or Arthur Ashe, but day in and day out, I was not as good as they were," he acknowledges.

Born and raised in Puerto Rico, not exactly a capital of the upscale sport of tennis, Charlie became good enough to get a scholarship to UCLA, where he was Ashe's teammate.

He was one of the activists who forced open tennis on the grumpy old men who ran the game then. Tennis had always been as relentlessly amateur as company picnic softball. The grandees who ran it liked to keep the practitioners barefoot and in debt in those days.

Tennis wasn't meant to be played by anybody who needed money. The game was played for tea trays and silver cups and even Big Bill Tilden had to come with his hat in his hand and his feet wiped if he wanted to be housed and fed at a major tournament.

Pasarell was one who helped to change this sorry state of affairs. But not in time to do himself much good. Charlie played 14 Wimbledons, a lot of them with plenty of "Yes, sirs" and "Thank you, ma'ams" and low bows.

"We finally got the USTA to agree to a $28-a-day allowance," he remembers. "I went right out and bought a new Camaro."

The players finally opened the vault when they boycotted Wimbledon in '68. If it was a little late for Charlie Pasarell, it was just in time for the spoiled brat brigade and tennis went from "Oh, thank you, sir!" to "This place is the pits!"

The prize went from a tea tray to--well, the winner gets $320,000 in the Newsweek Champions Cup here at the Hyatt Grand Champions resort this week. You get $26,400 for finishing 16th. That's a lot of tea trays.

This tournament was just a nice little weekend romp in the desert till Charlie got hold of it. To give you an idea, it was won one year by an unranked baseliner named Larry Stefanki. It was his only tour victory. He beat the immortal David Pate.

But Charlie, typically, kept returning serve and hitting the corners, chipping away. He treated roadblocks as just another bunch of 24-22, 16-14, 11-9 sets. Gradually, his tournament grew in drama and prestige till it became one of the ATP tour's Super Nine. It began to attract the elite of the game. This week's Newsweek had all four of last year's Grand Slam event champions--till Boris Becker lost Tuesday--and started with 18 of the top 20 players in the world. A Grand Slam would like to attain such a cast.

How did he do it? Well, as one who played in the days when you had to keep your shoes shined, shirt buttoned and feet wiped to stay on tour, Charlie feels he knows how athletes like to be treated.

So, Southern California, which has been on a losing streak of sorts lately--with the Rams and Raiders gone--seems to have found itself with a major league attraction.

He wouldn't, but, if the phone rang today, and someone said, "We just lost the Australian Open champion, Boris Becker, boss, to somebody named Costa," Charlie could shrug and say, "What does that leave us--only three of the four Grand Slam champions? Only 17 of the top 20?"

It's still a mini-Grand Slam. But it has come a long way from Larry Stefanki.

9,514 Posts
Discussion Starter #50
Welp, so much for the "The men's game is too serve, serve, 40 aces, win for the fans to like" argument!

Men's game serves most fans right
The San Diego Union-Tribune
March 13, 1996
DON NORCROSS, Staff Writer

Encinitas resident John Daily was parked on one of the Hyatt Grand Champions back courts, soaking up a women's doubles match. When he was asked which he preferred to view, men's or women's tennis, he supplied a succinct response.

"Definitely, the men," he said.

The reasoning behind his short answer was so detailed, so precise, one would have thought Daily had written a thesis on the subject.

"The men are stronger, faster. They just play a higher quality game," Daily said. "And there's closer competition. After the top two or three women, there's a big gap."

Joining Daily yesterday at the men's Newsweek Champions Cup and the women's State Farm Evert Cup was his date, Pam Morley of Escondido. Like Daily, Morley leans toward the men, but for altogether different reasons.

"I like their legs," Morley said. "That's why I'm dating a tennis player."

In a survey that should be noted for its highly unscientific method, fans milling about yesterday's tournaments indicated a clear preference for the men's game. Eleven fans were polled, six men and five women. Nine of them said they prefer the men's game. Two opted for Steffi Graf and Co.

"The men are a little bit more intense, a little bit faster, a little bit more aggressive," said Dan Joseph of Los Angeles.

Forced to choose between men's and women's tennis is like selecting which baseball hitter you'd like to see: the slugger or the line-drive hitter. Cecil Fielder or Tony Gwynn.

The men's game represents the sluggers. They rifle 130-mph serves. They sprint to the net. They volley. They turn around and walk back to the baseline.

The women mirror the singles hitters. A forehand here, a backhand there. Move the ball around. Use the entire field.

Tennis fans, it seems, like home runs. "It's always more fun to watch a power hitter," said Riverside's Ken Fortier.

Fortier's wife, Charlotte, professed a preference for the women's game and cited the reason that many women's fans do -- she can relate to the game. Who among us can serve the ball 130 mph? And what fun is it when a point lasts all of two seconds?

"I'm never going to get to see a serve like the guys have," Charlotte said. "But I might actually learn something from watching the women play."

Woody Blocher, the head pro at the Canyon Hills Racquet Club in Escondido, said 15 years ago he wouldn't have watched a women's match. But after a couple of years of coaching Oceanside's Marianne Werdel Witmeyer, he admits he has a newfound appreciation for the women's game.

Because of the technology in rackets and the increased emphasis on fitness, Blocher says women hit the ball as hard now as men did 15 years ago. Bottom line: He likes the women's game.

"The club player relates more to the women's game," said Blocher.

Mark Philippoussis, Stefan Edberg and Werdel Witmeyer all said that, as players, they prefer not to watch tennis -- the leave-work-at-the-office philosophy.

"Not too many lawyers turn on Court TV when they get home," said Werdel Witmeyer.

More than one person cited the depth of the men's tour for why they favor the men. Ten male players have won Grand Slam events in the '90s; only seven women have captured majors in the '90s.

Boris Becker, No. 4 on the ATP Tour, was eliminated yesterday by 38th-ranked Carlos Costa. On Monday, Graf struggled mightily with her serve, but she still defeated 18th-ranked Julie Halard-Decugis in straight sets.

"There's more parity in the men's game," said Joseph.

But mostly, fans polled yesterday aligned themselves with the men because, athletically, they play better tennis.

Said Janet Lilly of Montana: "I like the differences in the men's game. They serve and volley. They rally. The women mostly stay back and hit. There's more diversity in the men's game."

9,514 Posts
Discussion Starter #51
Davenport earns date in semis with Graf
The Press-Enterprise
Riverside, CA
March 14, 1996
Jim Short

INDIAN WELLS -- Lindsay Davenport arrived on time for her Evert Cup quarterfinal match Wednesday night.

Chanda Rubin didn't show up until midway through the second set, and by then Davenport was well on the way to a 6-0, 6-3 victory and a date with top-ranked Steffi Graf tonight at the Hyatt Grand Champions Resort.

The other semifinal, to be played Friday, will match No. 4 seed Kimiko Date, a 6-7, 6-3, 6-3 winner over Nathalie Tauziat, against No. 2 seed Conchita Martinez, a 7-5, 6-2 winner over unseeded Lindsay Lee.

The women's final will be played Saturday. And even though Graf has won both of their previous matches, the most recent two years ago at the Lipton Championships, Davenport isn't conceding a berth in the final to the German star.

"Obviously, she's the No. 1 player in the world, an unbelievable player," said Davenport, who's ranked No. 12. "I don't know how good a shot I have, but I think I can play pretty well. I am not underestimating myself at all.

"I know she has had problems with injuries, she hasn't played many matches, and if I serve well I think it could be a close match."

Davenport's match with Rubin, which didn't begin until about 7:45 p.m. because of two lengthy rain delays, was expected to be close, too.

It wasn't, mainly because Rubin made 40 unforced errors to just 12 for Davenport.

"The first set it was very obvious that she was not playing well at all," Davenport said. "I don't how to say it (nicely). But I think she would agree that she didn't play very well, and that she was having a lot of problems."

Rubin did agree, totally.

"I made it tough on myself from the start," said Rubin, who's ranked No. 9. "I was just on the defensive pretty much the whole time."

Davenport, who can move up to No. 10 in the rankings if she beats Graf, said, "I'm playing some good tennis that I haven't played in a long time, and I have to be pleased with that."

Then she went off to prepare to play doubles.

9,514 Posts
Discussion Starter #52
Pasarell Hasn't Lost His Touch
March 18, 1996
Los Angeles Times

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. — If you are a fan of the sport of tennis, or just a fan of sports, it is difficult not to be seduced by the new and improved version of Charlie Pasarell's ongoing dream in the desert. If this is not tennis Camelot, you can see it from here.

Years ago, Pasarell was known as one of the best thinking players on the men's tour. These days, his racket is serving the sport from boardrooms rather than baselines.

What has resulted is 10 days in mid-March, unblemished by big-city lights and sounds, of warm weather, spectacular mountain views, palm trees swaying in hot desert breezes and some of the best tennis played anywhere all year.

By both men and women.

The coed touch is the new twist here. This year, for the first time ever, the tournament combined men's and women's tour matches at the same time and venue. That sort of thing is done in tennis only at the four Grand Slam events--the Australian, French, Wimbledon and U.S. Open--plus next week's Lipton tournament in Florida, a pre-Australian event in Sydney, and the Japan Open in Tokyo. In addition, Pasarell put the two events together while balancing the demands, and certainly egos, of two separate title sponsors.

Even tougher, two separate genders.

For this, he could be a nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize. But the suspicion is that he will settle for exactly what he got--a huge success.

There were plenty of potential land mines going into this event:

--The locker-room area for the male players was already tiny, so the women had to be shipped off to an adjoining set of hotel villas behind the practice courts. That situation was policed by a sign in the men's locker room that said: "Men Only. Do Not Enter." That was not received warmly by a few of the women's officials. But as the tournament went on, the villas became more and more to the liking of the women.

--The women's tournament, the State Farm Evert Cup, a $550,000 event, awarded Steffi Graf $100,000 for her title; the men's event, the Newsweek Champions Cup, a $2.2-million event, awarded Michael Chang $320,000 for his title. That would be a much stickier wicket were there not the expectation that, next year, the Evert Cup will be upgraded to a Tier 1 event, with accompanying increased payoffs.

--Of the 75 hours of telecasts from this combined event, including ESPN, ESPN2, Eurosport, ESPN International and the German network ZDF, 12 hours went to the women's event, and only two, Graf's final victory over Conchita Martinez, was on the main ESPN network. Again, that situation would be more of a deal-breaker here were it not clear to both sides that much of this was based on prior contracts.

--There was much speculation that making people buy boxes and season tickets for three additional women-only sessions might backfire. Instead, those three sessions drew 25,539, well above prior early-round sessions when the Evert Cup stood alone. As a whole, the tournament drew 147,751, including sold-out sessions every day starting last Monday and a sold-out session Friday night. The 10-day, 15-session tournament averaged 9,850 a session and 14,774 a day.

So, in the end, the land mines were only talked about, never stepped on. And Pasarell, who reportedly has plans for ambitious additions to the facilities here, had yet another building block to the future.

"Somebody called this the U.S. Open of the West," Pasarell said. "That's a nice compliment, but we'll never get to that level. . . . What we have here is a special event in a very special place. It's not in a big city. It's not one of those things where a person can say, 'I think I'll leave the office about 1 o'clock and catch some tennis.' Here, people plan their vacations."

Pasarell has many important allies in his quest to place this combined event a mere notch below the Grand Slams. Ann Person Worcester, the women's tour CEO, backed the joining of the two events and said she liked what she saw, especially the first weekend, when the women played alone and drew well. And J. Wayne Richmond, who is in charge of the ATP tour in the Americas, said Sunday, "Charlie has done a great thing here. This event is good for all of tennis. We are one of the few pro sports in the world where the skill levels of men and women are such that you can put them out there together."

It was perhaps best summed up by Bud Collins, tennis columnist for the Boston Globe and internationally known tennis broadcaster, who said, "I think Charlie has made this one of the three great tennis events in the United States, with Lipton and the U.S. Open.

"You have to have the women to present the full face of tennis. And the full face of tennis makes a beautiful picture."

9,514 Posts
Discussion Starter #53
Nice tournament -- it will probably move next year.

The Miami Herald
March 17, 1996
MERI-JO BORZILLERI, Herald Sports Writer

Popped behind Butch Buchholz's desk chair is a standard office knickknack: the framed family portrait.

Buchholz is chairman and founder of The Lipton Championships. He spends long hours at the office, on the stadium's first floor at the Tennis Center at Crandon Park.

But he hardly needs a picture to remember what his relatives look like. All he has to do is poke his head outside his door. His brother, Cliff, works across the hall. He's the Lipton tournament director. Butch's son, Trey, the company president, is a few doors down. Trey's wife Erika, who works in sales, is just across the lobby.

The Robbies were Miami's first family when it came to football. But the Buchholzes are it in tennis.

Many tournaments are owned and / or managed by corporate giants, like tennis' International Management Group.

When the $4.1 million Lipton Championships begins Thursday on Key Biscayne, four family members will be running the biggest tournament in the world outside the Grand Slam events.

No other tournament on the men's or women's tours has as many family members working prominent posts.

Good thing they all get along.

"Brothers working together -- I'm sure that doesn't happen in every family," said Tom Knight, an employee in group sales. "I can't imagine working with my brother."

With TV contracts to be negotiated, sponsors to be entertained and top-10 players to be kept happy, things can get tense.

Any problems get worked out

But the Buchholzes make one thing clear: Blood runs thicker than iced tea.

"You can't get mad at your family," Butch said. "We're not going to let the tennis tournament or the business interfere with the family. We'll get out."

Said Cliff: "We always try to work it out."

Said Trey: "We'd rather have a dysfunctional tournament than a dysfunctional family."

They're a far cry from having either. After a shaky history that began in 1985, The Lipton has blossomed into a world-renowned tournament. It's South Florida's richest sporting event of the spring. If you're a Buchholz, just because you don't have an office in the stadium, or take part in monthly "family" business meetings, doesn't mean you're not involved.

"We have many dinners over the tennis tournament," Butch's wife Marilyn said. "It's just so big that we can't not have it spill over into the conversation. But it's fun. It's natural for us."

It's natural because Butch always has included family in his tennis. He and Marilyn have a tennis court in the back yard of their Coral Gables home. During Lipton, the house will be home to some sponsors.

"It's almost not like a business because it's just always been all of us together living it," Marilyn said.

When Trey was little, he carried Ilie Nastase's racquets when Nastase was on Butch's World TeamTennis team, based in Hawaii.

"Butch always took one child with him somewhere special," Marilyn said.

Tennis dominates childhood

Even when he didn't, Dad was a moving geography lesson. Buchholz, a former world No. 5 player, was a full-time touring pro until 1969. The kids -- Trey, now 26; Kristen, 29; and Kathy, 33, would follow by sticking colored pins in a map on the den wall. When Dad came home, he wasn't always alone.

"(They were) used to having a lot of tennis players around the house," Butch said. "Like Rod Laver, John Newcombe, Lew Hoad."

As kids, Butch, now 55, and Cliff, 52, didn't bump into tennis legends in their living room. But the Buchholz name was prominent in St. Louis, where their father, Earl Sr., taught tennis. Butch (formally Earl Jr.) and Cliff became nationally ranked juniors, but Earl Sr. made sure they learned about the tennis industry, too.

Said Cliff: "We had a stringing machine in our house. We strung racquets." Butch and Cliff were hitting partners for their father's students, mostly juniors. Earl, who died in 1988, was among the first in the city to use discount coupons to attract customers. But he had too generous a heart to reap big profits.

"He was a terrible businessman," Butch said, laughing. "He was good at marketing, bad at business. He'd give the racquet away, give the strings away."

Among favorite stops for players

The Buchholzes seem to be good at both. The Lipton has flourished since the completion of the stadium in 1994. Players list the tournament among their top two favorites on tour. A tournament in Indian Wells, Calif., copied The Lipton format by combining men's and women's events this year.

The Buchholzes haven't stopped tinkering, adding a day to the 1996 tournament and making the men's final the best of five sets.

They also seem to have put their stamp on day-to-day operations.

Said Knight: "It's a family company, basically. It's like working for a very small company."

Butch and Cliff are in charge of the staff, which consists of 19 permanent and 75 temporary employees. Their personalities make them an effective tag-team.

"Cliff seems to be a person who likes to deal more with the details of things," said close friend Charlie Pasarell, Butch's contemporary on the pro tour and tournament director at Indian Wells. "Butch deals with the grand picture."

The picture's getting grander than Butch envisioned since Trey and Erika became more involved. That will free Cliff to spend more time on two businesses -- a tennis club and an athletic club -- he owns in Fort Collins, Colo., where he lives part of the year.

Said Trey: "They look at it like -- who's going to take better care of this stuff than the family? It means a lot to us. It means more than just a paycheck to us."


* When: Thursday-March 31. Qualifying -- Monday through Wednesday ($5 donation per person).

* Where: Tennis Center at Crandon Park, 7300 Crandon Blvd., Key Biscayne.

* Defending champions: Andre Agassi, Steffi Graf.

* Other top players: Pete Sampras, Thomas Muster, Michael Chang, Jim Courier, Monica Seles, Jennifer Capriati, Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, Gabriela Sabatini, Mary Joe Fernandez.

* Prize money: Men -- $2.55 million (winner: $338,000); Women -- $1.55 million (winner: $210,000).

* Surface: Laykold (hard).

* Draw: Singles -- 96-player (men's and women's); doubles -- 48 teams (men's and women's).

* Tickets: From $5 (individual junior ticket for age 14 and under) and $10 (adult) to $40 for men's or women's final. May be purchased on site as available or call The Lipton ticket office at (305) 442-3367 from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday; 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. (Hours extended starting Thursday.) Tickets also available through Ticketmaster -- (954) 523-3309 in Broward and (305) 358-5885 in Dade.

* Public transportation: Free shuttle leaves from CocoWalk in Coconut Grove. Or take Metrorail to Brickell Station and catch Tennis Connection bus for $1 (round trip). Call (305) 638-6700 Monday-Friday from 6 a.m.-10 p.m. or from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday for more information.

* Parking: General admission ticket holders park for $8 per vehicle at Virginia Key with free shuttle bus service to Crandon Park.

* Directions: From the north -- I-95 south to Key Biscayne exit, left to Rickenbacker Causeway to Key Biscayne.
From south -- U.S. 1 (South Dixie Highway) to Rickenbacker Causeway to Key Biscayne.

* Schedule: Thursday-March 25 -- Day session begins at 10 a.m.; night session begins at 7:30 p.m. March 26-March 28 -- sessions at 11 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. March 29 -- 1 and 7:30 p.m.

* Finals: Women's singles -- 1:30 p.m. March 30. Men's singles -- 1:30 p.m. March 31.

* TV: Friday -- 1-3 p.m. ESPN2; March 25 -- midnight- 1:30 a.m., 1-3 p.m., ESPN; March 26 -- 1-4 p.m. ESPN; March 27 -- 12:30 a.m.-2:30 a.m. ESPN2, 1-4 p.m. ESPN; March 28 -- 12:30-2:30 a.m. ESPN2, 1-3 p.m. ESPN; March 29 -- 12:30 a.m.-2 a.m., 1-3 p.m. ESPN, 7:30-9:30 p.m. ESPN2; March 30 -- 1-2:30 a.m., 4-6 p.m. ESPN (women's final); March 31 -- 4-6 p.m. ESPN (men's final).

9,514 Posts
Discussion Starter #54
Centre court of world game
Simon O'Hagan examines the health of a service industry in the Sunshine State

The Independent on Sunday
London, England
March 17, 1996
Simon O'Hagan

IT GROWS oranges by the million. Disney World does good business as well. And the drug economy is a fact of life. But there is another commodity that Florida deals in that has left its tramlines all over the Sunshine State: tennis.

When the world's best players gather there this week for the Lipton Championships, they will be at the geographical hub of the international game. From Tallahassee and Amelia Island in the north to Miami and Naples in the south, Florida is one big tennis court. Almost everyone who is anyone in the sport seems to live or train there, and for those aspiring to tennis stardom there is nowhere else like it.

The Lipton, which takes place in Key Biscayne, about 40 miles south of Miami, is the high point of the Florida tennis year - so high, in fact, that only the peaks of the four Grand Slams look down on it. When it began in 1985, as a two-week tournament in Delray Beach that ambitiously brought together men and women in a 128-draw, the threat felt by the established order was a factor in the upgrading of the Australian Open. And while Butch Buchholz, who founded the Lipton, says he never wanted to move in on Grand Slam territory, his event, which now lasts 10 days and has a 96-draw, has great prestige - derived in part from its location.

What appealed to Buchholz about Florida was its position in relation to the rest of the world. "The West Coast of America is only three hours behind," he said. "Europe is only five hours ahead. It's convenient for Latin America. That makes it easier to sell to television."

Players have other benefits in mind when they pitch up, as they do in increasing numbers, in the state that boasts more than 600 tennis clubs, dozens of tennis academies, and thousands of courts. "The weather, the weather and the weather," said Tracy Wildey of the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Bradenton on the west coast of Florida. "You can play here the whole year round . . . Nowhere else in the States has this concentration of facilities."

Although Gardnar Mulloy, an American great of the immediate post-war era, was a noted Miamian, it is Chris Evert, born and brought up in Fort Lauderdale, now living in Boca Raton, who perhaps did most to put Florida on the map as a cradle of the world game. But the modern era - in which the state has become a magnet not just for Americans - dates from 1978, when Nick Bollettieri launched the academy that has provided the blueprint for many others.

Bollettieri was a law graduate from the University of Miami who had started out 10 years previously by giving tennis lessons on South Miami beach. He operated from a Pepsi stand and charged $1.50 an hour. Among the first professionals he worked with were Mike DePalmer, Jimmy Arias and Carling Bassett, and his academy has now expanded into a complex with 55 courts. He has his detractors, but the number of top men and women he has influenced speaks for itself. Among them are Andre Agassi, Boris Becker, Monica Seles, Mary Pierce and Iva Majoli.

Tennis academies became big business. There was Harry Hopman's, in Largo, which is now the Saddlebrook Academy in Tampa. Jennifer Capriati, a resident of Saddlebrook, is a product, and Pete Sampras and Greg Rusedski train there. Largo is also where Bobby Stearns, a former coach of Goran Ivanisevic, runs a successful academy. In the Miami area, academies sprang up which tended to have a more Hispanic flavour. Those bearing the names of Gary Kesl, Rick Macci and Patricio Apey - with whose academy Gabriela Sabatini has had a long association - are the most prominent.

But in an industry in which the process of attracting good young players is almost as competitive as the game itself, academies come and go or just evolve. Having seen how Bollettieri did it, Carling Bassett went on to found her own academy in Boca Raton with her husband Robert Seguso. Only two weeks ago Chris Evert bought into it.

While the main business of academies is young unknowns, Florida is the place to have a base if you are a star. Ilie Nastase, John McEnroe and Vitas Gerulaitis all lived there on and off. Of today's players, Sampras (Tampa) and Steffi Graf (Boca Raton) fall into this category. Monica Seles has lived in Florida since she arrived from Yugoslavia 10 years ago. The family home is a compound in Sarasota complete with basketball court. Mary Pierce still spends much more time in Bradenton than she does in Paris.

"For these people it's nice to have somewhere they can escape to when they are not on the Tour where they can train but generally relax," said Norman Palmer, founder of the Palmer Academy in Tampa and father of Jared Palmer, a former top-50 player. "Sampras has his own private life in Tampa, and he needs that."

The tennis fraternity expands with the players who come through the college system. Women's tennis is particularly strong at the University of Florida in Gainesville. Then there are the various tennis bodies which operate from Florida. The Association of Tennis Professionals is based in Ponte Vedra; the Women's Tennis Association has an office in St Petersburg; the United States Tennis Association headquarters are in Key Biscayne. The agents IMG keep tabs on the talent from their Boca Raton vantage point. Tournaments in Florida, other than the Lipton, include a big women's event in Amelia Island, and the Orange Bowl in Miami - in effect a world championship of junior tennis that takes place every December. There is a monthly magazine, Florida Tennis.

In spite of the extent of tennis activity in Florida, Brian Gottfried, a former top-10 player and the ATP's director of tennis, thinks a sense of community among those involved is somewhat lacking. "I grew up on the public courts of Fort Lauderdale," he said. "That's how you met people. Now there are so many private clubs it doesn't happen so much." Now if they all had to pick oranges for a living . . . .

9,514 Posts
Discussion Starter #55
I think one of the LTA's biggest problems was that everybody had a different take on what was the LTA's biggest problem.

How to play the Lloyd way
THE MONDAY INTERVIEW - John Roberts talks to a rebel turned Davis Cup coach who might run the game if the Lawn Tennis Association dared ask him

The Independent
London, England
March 18, 1996
John Roberts

A tennis racket never seemed far from David Lloyd's grasp, but nowadays he wields a mobile telephone while taking care of overheads, generating a little topspin and delivering the odd volley.

Few sportsman have made such a spectacular transition to business, particularly by developing the playground. Lloyd sold his empire of tennis and leisure centres to Whitbread for pounds 20m last year, while remaining as the company's chairman.

Around the same time, he became the captain of Britain's ridiculed Davis Cup team, a bold step by the Lawn Tennis Association, almost akin to its football cousins beckoning Brian Clough at his abrasive best.

To top it all, the 48-year-old Lloyd has expressed an interest in taking over as the LTA's chief executive, which amounts to running the British game - or would do were he to be installed - when Ian Peacock vacates the job in September.

But is the rebel seriously tempted to become an establishment figure, or is he merely teasing? "It would have to be done on my terms, and I don't mean financially," he said, expounding his position between fielding business calls at the headquarters of David Lloyd Leisure at Heston, near Heathrow Airport.

"Someone like myself is self-sufficient and does not need the job for security," he emphasised. "That makes an enormous difference to your decisions, it really does. If every time you make a decision you think, `Christ, I could be fired here', and it's your last penny, you don't make a tough call. You really have to be absolutely confident. You make the call, and three years down the line, if the game doesn't improve, you walk out.

"They might be tough decisions. They might hurt people. If someone's hurt, someone gains. That's the fact of life."

He would appear to have more than enough decisions to make as it is, planning seven new "profit centres" to be built during the next two months at a cost of pounds 45m, bringing the total to 25. Catching him in the office is an achievement. He spends only one day a week there.

"I think you've always got to keep your options open. I'm enjoying what I do. I think I'm very important to the company, but we've got a lot of very good people here. If someone said there's a job at the LTA tomorrow, then I'd say sorry, I'm not available. But if there's one available in six month's time, I don't know, and nor do they.

"All I'm saying is while I wouldn't apply for the job, I'd have to say, `Look, I'm available, guys, do you want me to come and talk to you, yes or no?' And if they say yes, I've got to to be able to make decisions on the spot and not be criticised until my contract runs out. If you don't, you're going to get a guy in who's a yes-person.

"That's what I'd be very worried about. I think you've got to give a guy the ground rules, set the budgets, and then you let him run, as long as he doesn't do something criminal, or whatever. You've got to put people in position who are actually better than you at what they do."

Peacock, 61, has likened his role to that of "wet nurse to an ailing child," adding that he has "spent 10 years nurturing it to a state where it's now just about off the bottle." The next stage, he hopes, would see tennis in Britain develop into "an unruly child", needing to be kept under control during boom years reminiscent of the surges in Sweden and Germany.

"I personally, 11 years ago, would have had a rebellion," Lloyd countered. "I would have chucked - not chucked, that's not quite right - I would have said: `Right, how are we really going to go for this, now'. That's the way I am.

"Ian Peacock has told me that he understands the way I would have done it, but that he has tried to do it gently and slowly, putting people in place. And who is to say who's right and wrong? We could never test the theory. We can't go back 11 years.

"My philosophy is to do things quickly. I'm a great believer that if it's wrong, it's wrong. It isn't going to change by pruning. Often you've got to chop things off and replace them. That's how I would do it.

"I like Ian very much, and he's obviously put a nice structure in place, and he's got the indoor tennis initiative off the ground, so that's a success. But, having the best tournament in the world and a very wealthy LTA, because of the money from Wimbledon, I still think we can go forward. And I think we've got to do it fast, because other countries are really developing quickly. You've got countries coming in with players you've never heard of. The LTA have got to make a big decision. They have to to go for an administrator, like Ian, or for someone who is going to do it differently."

The alternative type Lloyd has in mind, other than himself, is Ion Tiriac, the Romanian player-turned-promoter who managed Boris Becker for 10 years and has designs on becoming Steffi Graf's agent.

"If I did the job," Lloyd said, "I'd be out there. I think I could put someone in who could do the paperwork on pounds 25,000, whatever. What they can't do is out there, doing the business. I'm like a track-suit manager. I've got to see players and go to the regions. I've got to be in the field. I can't be stuck in an office, dictating letters. I can do those letters in the car, on the phone.

"I can run the structure, I can run the business, because that's something I'm good at. If there's any spare fat, I can get rid of it. That's what I've been trained to do.

"I have to pay shareholders. It's a little bit different when you're a public company to being a funded association. I'm not saying that in a rude way. It's exactly what they LTA is. You don't have to look at the pennies quite the same way. I don't believe in negative budgets, I think everything should make a profit. I mean, the profit might be a tennis player.

"The chief executive of the LTA, and the LTA itself, has a mandate, and that is to make the game of tennis in this country better. What is better? More people playing, better standards.

"If I did the job, there would be more coaches and managers in the regions, better qualified, better motivated, and on bigger wages. They wouldn't be office people, they'd be track-suited managers, given the responsibility of finding champions. If the rim of the wheel is weak, the centre can never be strong. That's the philosophy I would implement immediately."

Assuming, of course, that he is not buried beneath a scrum of committee men. "I don't know if the LTA will ever change that way," he admitted.

"You've got to have a board, but a perfect board would be four executive directors and three non-executive directors. The non-executive directors would be there as corporate governments to make sure that the four aren't just going wild, and there must be some sort of veto.

"But the executive people have to be allowed to run the game, run the company. They're there, at source. They are the driving force. The councillors are nice people. I'm not saying kick them out. I just think there has to be a really powerful committee that has both LTA councillors and executive people, who can actually make a decision."

Some people dismissed Lloyd as a heretic the moment he advocated that Wimbledon ought to consider replacing its lawns with a synthetic surface to slow the pace of the game. "I just have this horrible feeling that Wimbledon will become a one-shot venue as far as the men's game is concerned," he said.

"It's not Wimbledon's fault that grass is quick or that modern rackets enable players to hit the ball harder. It's a reality. If they knew the game was going to go back to wooden rackets, OK. But I don't think they know that, therefore they've got to look at the only thing that can slow it down, which is the court surface.

"I love Wimbledon, and I'm worried that in four or five years time you won't see one rally. And I don't think that's what people want. They'll still come, but they'll come because they want to come to Wimbledon with their hat on to be seen. They won't be people who want to watch tennis, because there won't be any to watch."

Lloyd, and his younger brother, John, the more successful singles competitor, were introduced to the game by their father, Dennis. "My dad was in love with tennis. I don't think I've met any man, or woman, that is more fanatical about tennis than him. I love tennis, but I'm not in love with it. I can do something else. He lives for it. When John was married to Chris [Evert], dad believed he was Chris's coach. I mean, it was in a nice way."

Imagine the acute disappointment, years ago, when Dennis Lloyd was told he had to take an LTA coaching examination, and was failed. "They failed him because he was a natural and taught from the heart and not from the book," David Lloyd said. "I've read these coaching books - `you must not have a loop; you must be pointing to the net; you must have your feet like that' - and it's a load of bull. Tennis was never like that."

Equally irritating for Lloyd are those tennis clubs which exclude children from playing at weekends, or insist that new members undergo a playing-in test. "That is part and parcel of tennis's image as a middle-class game, which it isn't," he said. Things would improve, he added, if coaches learned to be more than tennis teachers and became the social hub of their clubs, rather like Butlins redcoats, "or your Club Med".

"I'm very upbeat, because I do see things happening," he said. "We've got to go for it and make tennis the best game in Britain. And that needs someone with insane desire."

9,514 Posts
Discussion Starter #56
The Palm Beach Post
March 19, 1996
CHARLES ELMORE; Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Monica Seles has withdrawn from the Lipton Championships in Key Biscayne, blaming a strained left shoulder.

''The shoulder injury which began at the Australian Open makes it difficult for her to serve, and she must continue to rest her shoulder,'' said Linda Dozeretz, a spokeswoman for International Management Group, which manages Seles.

Also pulling out: 13th seed Natasha Zvereva (fractured rib) and 15th seed Amy Frazier (viral infection).

The top seed went to defending champion Steffi Graf in the draw announced Monday. She was followed by Aranxta Sanchez-Vicario, Anke Huber, Gabriela Sabatini, Kimiko Date and Chanda Rubin.

Jennifer Capriati will play on the first evening of main-draw play: Thursday at 7:30 p.m. against France's Lea Ghirardi-Rabbi. A wild-card entry, Capriati is participating in her first South Florida tournament in three years.

On the men's side, Thomas Muster is seeded No. 1, followed by defending champion Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Michael Chang and Boris Becker.

Agassi and Sampras are on opposite sides of the draw, with Agassi on Muster's side.

In the opening round of qualifying play Monday, Boca Raton's Carling Bassett-Seguso beat 11th seed Dally Randriantefy 7-5 (8-6), 3-6, 7-5. She faces Maureen Drake today on Court 1 in the third match after 9 a.m.

Qualifying play runs through Wednesday. Main-draw play goes March 21-31 at the Tennis Center at Crandon Park, a 14,000-seat facility in Key Biscayne.

Noteworthy: Presidential brother Roger Clinton will appear at the International Tennis Center (formerly Laver's) in Delray Beach Saturday to tape two cable TV tennis shows, a center official said . . . The Delray Beach City Championships tennis tournament begins its second year this weekend, with play starting Saturday and concluding March 31. The entry deadline is Wednesday for the event, held at the Delray Beach Tennis Center.

9,514 Posts
Discussion Starter #57
March 19, 1996

The women's tennis tour, hoping to assemble its strongest and most attractive lineup in three years, will have to do without Monica Seles at the Lipton Championships.

Seles' representatives told the Corel WTA Tour by fax Monday that the muscular strain in her left shoulder has not sufficiently cured from the damage it sustained at the Australian Open and she is forced to withdraw from Lipton

She would have been seeded No. 2 behind Steffi Graf. Her spot will be taken by Arantxa Sanchez Vicario. Two other women also pulled out - Natasha Zvereva with a stress fracture to her ribs and Amy Frazier with a viral infection.

Seles' agent told the WTA there is no surgery indicated and that there is no tear in the rotator cuff. She is able to hit groundstrokes and volley but is in pain when she serves.

The women's side still has Graf and Jennifer Capriati, playing her third tournament after a nearly two-year layoff. But without Seles, it means yet another tournament without a Graf-Seles showdown.

Agents for Seles, who are among the most secretive on the tour, did not say how long she expected to be out. The fax was a five-line, one-paragraph message.

9,514 Posts
Discussion Starter #58
No Lipton for Seles
Naples Daily News
March 19, 1996
Associated Press

Monica Seles withdrew from the Lipton Championships because of a shoulder injury, tournament officials said Monday.

Seles missed this month's Evert Cup in Indian Wells, Calif., for the same reason. She hurt her left shoulder en route to the Australian Open title in January.

"She can't serve," Lipton spokeswoman Lauren Sheprow said.

Aranxta Sanchez Vicario moves into Seles' slot as the No. 2 seed behind Steffi Graf in the $4.1 million tournament, which begins Thursday. Anke Huber is seeded third and Gabriela Sabatini fourth.

Jennifer Capriati, staging a comeback from drug and personal problems, will play for the first time in her home state in three years. Capriati's opening match will be Thursday night against Lea Ghirardi-Rubbi.

The top men's seeds will be Thomas Muster, Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Michael Chang and Boris Becker.

9,514 Posts
Discussion Starter #59
Garrison steps into youngest Legend role
The Tampa Tribune
March 19, 1996
H.A. Branham

Zina Garrison-Jackson's footwork has never been quicker. She's been stepping in and out of retirement for the last eight months.

Her career, always puzzling, has become even more so since last year's Wimbledon when she announced her retirement. Two months later, prior to the U.S. Open, she recanted at the urging of Billie Jean King and decided to keep playing the world tour.

This year she's somewhere in the middle, planning a limited WTA Tour schedule and competing on the Virginia Slims Legends Tour. At the age of 32, she's the youngest "legend."

"When you look at the the tournament entries and realize you're the oldest player, it's time to move on to something where you're the youngest," Garrison-Jackson said Monday at Saddlebrook Resort in Wesley Chapel, where a Legends Tour event will be played on May 4-5.

Garrison-Jackson and 33-year-old Pam Shriver -- "I guess we're the junior legends," -- were named recently to the tour, replacing Chris Evert and Tracy Austin , who are pregnant. On the downside of their careers, Garrison-Jackson and Shriver nonetheless will boost the Legends' quality of play that drops off once you get past Martina Navratilova and hit the 40-over age bracket.

Singles matches between Evert and Navratilova highlighted last year's Legends debut season. Garrison-Jackson would seem the natural choice to play Navratilova this year.

It would afford a chance for after-the-fact revenge.

Basically, Navratilova tormented Garrison-Jackson, defeating her 33 of 34 times, including the 1990 Wimbledon final.

That match overshadowed Garrison-Jackson's finest moments. She defeated Monica Seles and Steffi Graf consecutively to make the final. Unbelievable achievement, but forgotten since Navratilova's victory gave her a record ninth Wimbledon singles title.

That was Garrison-Jackson's only Grand Slam final. She reached Slam semis four times, Slam quarterfinals 10 times.

So close to being remembered as so much more.

"If I really focus on it, it's really frustrating," she said. "But I believe everything in life happens for a reason."

She also believes she has some good tennis left to play, and not just on the Legends Tour.

"Toward the end of last year I was playing some of my best tennis, and I ended up No. 20 in the world," she said. "That's not a bad thing."

And what about retirement? As usual, there's nothing definitive.

"I'm just gonna go with the flow," she said.

[] [] []

Lest there were any doubts that the Lipton Championships -- which start Thursday in Key Biscayne, running through March 31 -- are living up to promoter Butch Bucholtz's dream of being "the fifth major," consider:

[] The men's draw features the top three men -- Thomas Muster, Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi.

[] The women's draw features Steffi Graf (Monica Seles withdrew) plus these potential semifinal victims: Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, Gabriela Sabatini, Anke Huber and Chanda Rubin.

[] The women's field also has Saddlebrook resident Jennifer Capriati, 4-2 after two comeback tournaments.

[] The combined prize money is $4.1 million.

And who said the pros didn't like to play in the wind? That allegedly is the reason Conchita Martinez and Mary Pierce skip Lipton. That used to be John McEnroe's reason. Then and now, a preposterous excuse for missing one of the world's top events. No tournament ever will truly become a fifth major, but the Lipton has joined the recently completed Indian Wells, Calif. stop and the U.S. Open as this country's finest events.

[] [] []

Seles will play former University of Florida All-American Nicole Arendt in an April 20 exhibition at Laurel Oak Country Club in Sarasota, fulfilling an agreement reached when she moved to Laurel Oak, calling for her to play three exhibitions. Tickets are $50 for the 1:30 p.m. match; tickets go on sale March 26. Call (941) 377-6161 for information. ... Magdalena Maleeva, No. 7 in the world women's rankings, is training for the upcoming clay-court season at Saddlebrook. "She's been doing this for a few years," Harry Hopman Academy director Tommy Thompson said. "She likes to come here, skip hard courts, and start playing clay at Hilton Head [in late March]." ... Also training at Saddlebrook this week are Greg Rusedski, Shuzo Matsuoka and Sampras. Sampras canceled a scheduled Monday workout with coach Paul Annacone. Too windy.

9,514 Posts
Discussion Starter #60
Garrison Jackson puts her retirement on hold
St. Petersburg Times
March 19, 1996

Don't start waving goodbye to Zina Garrison Jackson just yet. After canceling retirement plans last year, Garrison Jackson is not slowing down, but rather speeding up.

She is, believe it or not, packing her schedule these days with more tennis than ever. In addition to playing on the WTA TOUR, she signed to play on the Virginia Slims Legends Tour, which makes a stop at Saddlebrook, May 4-5, and she is thinking about playing TeamTennis again this summer.

"I still like the challenge from day to day, not really knowing what to expect,'' she said Monday at Saddlebrook. "I think it'd be very hard for me to play too long. I'm 32 and I'm still playing well enough to have the opportunity to be a top-10 player.''

Garrison Jackson, who has been ranked as high as No. 4, has slipped to No. 22 and has lost early in her first two tournaments this season. She plays this week at The Lipton tournament in Key Biscayne.

Although there are more days when she is not tickled about training and practicing, she hopes to script a few more lasting memories on the court before calling it quits.

"I really want to try to play well in the next three Grand Slams,'' said Garrison Jackson, whose only Slam title match is the 1990 Wimbledon final she lost to Martina Navratilova. "I would love to make it to another final.''

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: This one comes from Dutch pro and ex-Florida State player Paul Haarhuis, who was teaching someone how to properly pronounce his last name (it's HAAR-huysh). "You have to spit a little bit when you say it.''

LEAP OF FAITH: One good tournament run can do a lot for a player. Just ask Haarhuis.

He went into last week's ATP Tour event in Indian Wells, Calif., ranked 68th in the world. But after toppling three big names homas Enqvist, Pete Sampras and Goran Ivanisevic - en route to the final, he is up to No. 27.

FALLING FOR STEFFI: Don't feel too bad for that ballboy in Indian Wells who collapsed from heat exhaustion during the women's final between Steffi Graf and Conchita Martinez. Graf not only met the youngster after the match, but also gave him an autographed WTA TOUR hat and T-shirt.

SPEAKING TOO SOON: Sampras is a little miffed at the attention he has gotten since he first mentioned at a San Jose tournament a few weeks ago that he might one day move back to California, where he grew up and where his family lives.

"Geez, I shouldn't have said anything,'' Sampras said Monday at Saddlebrook Resort while trying comically to practice on what was one of the windiest days of the year.

For the record, Sampras, who lives at nearby Tampa Palms, merely has entertained the idea of moving in the future, but he has no definite plans to head back to the West Coast.

DID YOU KNOW?: If the Olympics were to start today, the U.S. team would include at least the following players - Monica Seles, Chanda Rubin, Lindsay Davenport, Sampras, Andre Agassi and Michael Chang.

The three highest-ranked men and women players from the April 29th rankings will automatically make the team along with a doubles player to be chosen by the U.S. Olympic coaches, Tom Gullikson and Billie Jean King.

By the way, because of traffic concerns, the U.S. players won't stay in the Olympic Village but rather close to the playing site in Stone Mountain, Ga.

THE TOUR THIS WEEK: After the men and women played in Indian Wells last week, they are both playing together again this week at The Lipton, starting Thursday.

The women's field features Graf, Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, Gabriela Sabatini, Rubin and Jennifer Capriati. The men's draw has big names like Sampras, Agassi, Chang, Ivanisevic and Jim Courier.

FYI: Former tour pro Kathleen Horvath of Largo got married last month and works as an associate in municipal bonds for Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc.
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