Tennis: Wimbledon 99 - Court Circular

How Novotna's pay upstaged Sampras

WHILE THE storm over equal pay for men and women at the championships continues to rage, The Independent can reveal that wage parity at the All England Club is already here, and its value is pounds 3.75. That, at least, is the hourly rate paid to canteen staff, bar workers and other service personnel, regardless of gender.

"Of course we get the same as the men," one waitress said. "We do the same work and get the same pay." Opinion among the event staff over whether women tennis players should receive the same as the men was divided.

"It should be like that [with the men's champion receiving 10 per cent more than the women's]. Women play three sets and men play five," said one (male) sweet seller on the Bon Bons stall.

"It's not right," said a (female) colleague on another stall. "Women play in the same events and get the same crowds. Men might play five sets, but the women still do their job."

No doubt the debate has some steam left in it yet left, but one statistic from last year is worth considering. Pete Sampras, the men's champion, took home pounds 435,000 from SW19, while Jana Novotna, the women's champion, took away pounds 468,580. She won pounds 391,500 for her win in the singles plus pounds 77,080 for being one half of the winning pair in the women's doubles.

If only the poor men had the strength to compete in two events, perhaps they would have a chance of catching up in the earnings stakes.

HAS Anna Kournikova, the 18-year-old Russian uber babe, been indulging in a spot of Clinton-esque wordplay to keep us guessing whether she is single or not? "I do not have a boyfriend," she said firmly on Monday. What, then, is Sergei Federov, the ice-hockey player and former beau whom she was spotted holding hands with in Wimbledon village yesterday? A fiance, perhaps?

THE JURY is still out on the correct pronunciations of Grzybowska, Hrdlickova, Hrbaty and Gorrochategui but at least we now know how to say Shi-Ting Wang. Contrary to popular opinion, the Taiwanese player's name does not sound the same as it is written. On her way to defeat against Jana Novotna yesterday, there were plenty of chances to hear that it is actually spoken "Shi-Ting Wong".

TECHNOLOGY HAS advanced so fast that there is no longer an SW19 postal district, at least not as far as some mobile phone companies are concerned. Switch on some phones and the display tells you the area you are in and the dialling code. Within the grounds of the All England Club, the only display is "Wimbledon Tennis 99". Leave the premises and everything returns to normal. Spooky.

DEEDS OF THE SEEDS

Men's singles

1 Sampras

plays

S Lareau

in 2nd rd

Holder

Pete Sampras

(United States)

2 Rafter

beat

C Caratti

in 1st rd

3 Kafelnikov

beat

M Larsson, in 1st rd

4 Agassi

beat

A Pavel

in 1st rd

5 Krajickek

beat

C Ruud

in 1st rd

6 Henman

plays

C Woodruff

in 2nd rd

7 Philippoussis

plays

Woodforde

in 2nd rd

8 Martin

beat

Dreekmann

in 1st rd

9 Rusedski

plays

A Parmar

in 2nd rd

10 Ivanisevic

plays

M Tillstrom

in 1st rd

11 Kuerten

beat

C Wilkinson

in 1st rd

12 Moya

plays

J Courier

in 2nd rd

13 Kucera

plays

A Sa

in 2nd rd

14 Haas

plays

P Wessels

in 1st rd

15 Kiefer

beat

C Vinck

in 1st rd

16 Mantilla

plays

P Goldstein

in 2nd rd

OUT

Women's singles

1 Hingis

lost to

J Dokic

in 1st rd

Holder

Jana Novotna

(Czech Republic)

2 Graf

plays

de Swardt

in 2nd rd

3 Davenport

beat

A Fusai

in 1st rd

4 Seles

plays

Weingartner

in 2nd rd

5 Novotna

beat Shi-

Ting Wang

in 1st rd

6 V Williams

plays

E Tatarkova

in 2nd rd

7 Sanchez

beat

A Foldenyi

in 1st rd

8 Tauziat

plays

A Hopmans

in 2nd rd

9 Pierce

beat

F Zuluaga

in 1st rd

11 Halard-Decugis

beat

S Nacuk

12 Coetzer

plays

M Saeki

in 2nd rd

13 Testud

plays

B Rittner

in 2nd rd

14 Schett

beat

Leon Garcia

in 1st rd

15 Van Roost

plays

K Boogert

in 2nd rd

16 Zvereva

beat

K Po

in 1st rd

17 Kournikova

plays

A Vento

in 2nd rd

LENS MAGNETS

A photo count from yesterday's national press (seedings in brackets)

MEN NUMBER OF PHOTOGRAPHS WOMEN

Tim Henman (6) 23 22 Anna Kournikova (17) Greg Rusedski (9) 11 7 Venus Williams (6)

Sampras & Parmar 7 5 Steffi Graf (2)

The total photo count since 21 June

Tim Henman (6) 45 33 Anna Kournikova (17)

Greg Rusedski (9) 31 20 Martina Hingis (1)

Pete Sampras (1) 20 14 Venus Williams (6)

CHAMPIONSHIP STATISTICS

2 The number of games that Hingis won during her first-round defeat against Jelena Dokic.

1994 The last year the No 1 seed was beaten in the first round (Steffi Graf lost to Lori McNeil).

54 Minutes it took Dokic to thrash Hingis.

5 Years the BBC has managed to cling on to the TV and radio rights to Wimbledon.

3 Match points Boris Becker saved on his way to a five-set victory over Miles MacLagan.

TV COVERAGE

BBC2: 12.0pm-2.40pm; 4pm-8.30pm.

BBC1: 1.40pm-4.10pm.

Highlights: BBC2: 9.30pm.

TODAY'S WEATHER

After a damp start it should become brighter, but showers are possible in the afternoon. Maximum temp: 20C (68F).

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