Tennis: Korda and Novotna check in

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The Independent Online
PETR KORDA and Jana Novotna will make a historic first sporting appearance for the new Czech Republic in the 12-nation Hopman Cup mixed team tournament, which starts in Perth today.

Both Korda and Novotna, the second seeds, said they wished to play under the new flag of their country, which came into being yesterday with the split from Slovakia.

'The pair reconfirmed their Czech nationality and indicated they would play for the new republic,' Paul McNamee, the Cup chairman, said.

Last year, the tournament featured the world sporting debut of a Commonwealth of Independent States team with Andrei Cherkasov and Natalia Zvereva on court.

Korda, last year's French Open finalist, and Novotna, the No 1 women's doubles player, will face a tough challenge in the Cup from the German favourites and top seeds, Michael Stich and Steffi Graf.

The tournament also features a South African team for the first time. The South Africans are represented by Wayne Ferreira and Amanda Coetzer.

The top four seeds - Germany, the Czech Republic, Spain and the United States - receive a first-round bye.

HOPMAN CUP TOURNAMENT (Perth, Aus) Seedings: 1 Germany (M Stich and S Graf); 2 Czech Republic (P Korda and J Novotna); 3 Spain (E Sanchez and A Sanchez Vicario); 4 United States (M Washington and M J Fernandez); 5 France (G Forget and N Tauziat); 6 Switzerland (C Mezzadri and M Maleeva- Fragniere); 7 South Africa (W Ferreira and A Coetzer); 8 Austria (T Muster and J Wiesner).

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