Tennis star and world leader in moonlight flit from noisy hotel

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The Independent US

As if the UN millennium summit were not enough, New York is also hosting the US Open tennis tournament, across the East River in Queens. Some top players are finding the convergence most aggravating - no one more so than Nicolas Kiefer of Germany.

As if the UN millennium summit were not enough, New York is also hosting the US Open tennis tournament, across the East River in Queens. Some top players are finding the convergence most aggravating - no one more so than Nicolas Kiefer of Germany.

Kiefer arrived at Flushing Meadow on Monday complaining of fatigue after a near-sleepless weekend at the United Nations Plaza Hotel, just across from UN headquarters. Sunday night was the worst, when the hotel was twice awoken by security alarms and bomb threats. How was he to know that the Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, and the Iranian President, Mohammad Khatami, were fellow guests?

Kiefer decamped to the Waldorf Astoria a few blocks away. But this may not have been wise; Mr Arafat did the same. Indeed, it could be argued that the Waldorf is seeing more diplomatic activity than the UN's meeting chambers. Another guest is Ehud Barak, Prime Minister of Israel, and on Wednesday President Bill Clinton spent hours shuttling between their suites in an effort to coax out a peace treaty.

Everyone has reason to feel disgruntled with the disruption. But at least once you have conquered the street closures, circumnavigated the protesters and made it through the metal detectors into the UN itself, you might expect then to go about your business unimpeded.

Not if you are a journalist whose office is anywhere near the Trusteeship Council."I can't get in. I can't answer my phone. I can't even get my computer," raged an American reporter, a resident correspondent for years. Without so much as a "by your leave", security agents changed the locks on all offices near the council hall. But they have promised to refit the old ones when the summit is over - when my colleague will have no need to open his computer.

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