Sampras' concern for coach's health : TENNIS

Pete Sampras's defence of the Australian Open title has been overshadowed by concern for the health of his coach, Tim Gullikson, who was taken to hospital shortly after they practised together yesterday.

The 43-year-old Gullikson was assisted from the locker room 90 minutes before Sampras played his third round match against Lars Jonsson, of Sweden. The world No 1 won in straight sets.

Gullikson's symptoms of dizziness and slurred speech were similar to those when he suffered two minor strokes towards the end of last year.

He was taken ill during the Grand Slam Cup in Munich last month and was found to have a blood clot in the head and a faulty heart valve, a condition related to a fainting episode during the Stockholm Open in October.

Sampras, 23, has won four Grand Slam titles and become the sport's leading man since hiring Gullikson three years ago. Yesterday, he endeavoured to put the coach's misfortune to the back of his mind until he had played his match and could visit the hospital.

"I just had to block it out and not worry about it, just concentrate on my tennis and what I had to do and try not to think about Tim," Sampras said. "I realise he's in good hands, and I've played this game for a lot of years. It's always nice to have that support, but when it's not there I've been around long enough to handle it. I thought I handled it pretty well. I thought I played as well as I could.''

A dramatic tranformation in the weather overnight caused the Centre Court roof to be closed, creating the impression of a return to the winter indoor season. The sense of deja vu was heightened for Sampras when it was confirmed that his fourth-round opponent would be Magnus Larsson, the Swede who defeated him in the final of the Grand Slam Cup.

Larsson advanced without hitting a ball yesterday, a high temperature causing his compatriot, Thomas Enqvist, to withdraw from their third-round match.

It will be the fifth time in four months that Larsson has encountered Sampras, the American having won all but the match in Munich. While giving the Swede credit - "he outplayed me" - Sampras said he felt "sore and sluggish" after a gruelling five-set semi-final against Goran Ivanisevic the previous day.

Larsson recalled having played "dream tennis" in Munich, and said he intended to "mix it up as much as possible again and not play too much to his backhand.''

Coincidentally, Sampras first played Larsson in the quarter-finals here at Flinders Park last year, winning, 7-6, 2-6, 6-3, 7-6.

Michael Stich, the No 7 seed, dropped out of Sampras's quarter of the draw yesterday, bamboozled by Karel Novacek's tactical nous and denied a fourth-round match against Jim Courier.

Novacek won, 7-5, 6-2, 6-4, reversing a straight-sets defeat by Stich in the semi-finals of last year's United States Open by adopting an attacking style. Stich's confidence evaporated when the mistakes he expected from the Czech failed to materialise.

The 1991 Wimbledon champion created only two break points, both in the opening set, and failed to convert either of them. While not blaming the roof for his defeat, Stich considered that playing indoors put him at a disadvantage. "It's supposed to be an outdoor tournament, and that's what it should be.''

That prompted the annual rainy day debate down here, Michael Chang taking a philosophical view: "As long as it's a tennis court, put up a net and give me some balls and an opponent to play, and it's good enough for me."

Disadvantage, in Chang's case, is defined as working in a land of giants. It should come as a welcome change in the fourth round to find himself playing an opponent two inches shorter: the Frenchman Olivier Delaitre, 5ft 7in.

In the women's singles, Conchita Martinez was given a difficult time by Kristie Boogert, a bold 21-year-old from Rotterdam. The Wimbledon champion won, 6-3, 2-6, 6-3, and in the fourth round will face Irina Spirlea, a Romanian prospect.

There could hardly have been a greater contrast to the calm under the Centre Court roof than the cold blustery conditions on Court No 2, where the tournament bade adieu to Madagascar's finest, Dally Randriantefy.

Mary Pierce's pounding forehand found the lines often enough to see Dally off, 6-3, 6-3, though the No 4 seed came closer to being edged into a third set than the score suggests. The impressive 17-year-old qualifier recovered after losing the first four games and contesting every point.

Randriantefy's first experience of Grand Slam competition raised her world ranking by 100 places to 144. She won $13,500 (£9,000) - plus $860 bonus from her father, Max, who gives her $10 for every WTA Tour computer point gained.

News
Alan Bennett has criticised the “repellent” reality shows which dominate our screens
tvBut he does like Stewart Lee
Life and Style
The Google Doodle celebrating the start of the first day of autumn, 2014.
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
News
Former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin, left, with her daughter, Bristol
newsShe's 'proud' of eldest daughter, who 'punched host in the face'
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Life and Style
Carol O'Brien, whose son Rob suffered many years of depression
healthOne mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Life and Style
food + drink
News
Rob Merrick's Lobby Journalists were playing Ed Balls' Labour Party MPs. The match is an annual event which takes place ahead of the opening of the party conference
newsRob Merrick insistes 'Ed will be hurting much more than me'
News
A cabin crew member photographed the devastation after one flight
news
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Pharmaceutical Computer System Validation Specialist

£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pharmaceutical Computer ...

High Level Teaching Assistant (HTLA)

£70 - £90 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Higher Level Teaching Assist...

Teaching Assistant

£50 - £80 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Randstad Education is the UK...

Senior Java Developer - API's / Webservices - XML, XSLT

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently ...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments