Net Gains: Absent Venus should take a leaf out of her own book

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The Independent Online

The timing of Venus Williams' fine for not attending a press interview on Wednesday could hardly have been more appropriate considering her new book had been released 24 hours earlier. The subject of the tome? Interviews with 50 people about the importance of sport in their lives.

Bill Clinton, Condoleezza Rice and Magic Johnson are among the celebrities who talked to Williams and co-author Kelly E Carter. The results appear in 'Come to Win: Business Leaders, Artists, Doctors and Other Visionaries on How Sports Can Help You Top Your Profession'. "We did a lot of interviews with a lot of great people and how they started out in sports and how it made a huge difference in their life," Williams said. "Obviously they didn't become professional athletes, but they became great people in their field. So it's about the lessons that sport taught them and how they still apply to what they do now." Like the importance of keeping appointments?

Pooch with tale to tell

If only animals could talk. One of the police sniffer dogs used at Wimbledon would no doubt have a tale to tell after going missing following one of his shifts here. It was presumed he had been dog-napped, but he was found in Essex on Friday, still wearing his police tag. Detectives are said to be following a number of leads.

Pasting over the pastry

Despite frequent warnings to spectators to turn off their mobile phones while on court, there are always some who forget. Offenders normally reach hurriedly for the "reject call" button, but on Court 12 last week one woman jumped up and rushed towards the exit in the middle of a point, despite an attempt by an honorary steward to stop her. "Sorry, but it's urgent," she said before dashing behind the stand to continue her conversation. "Darling," she was overheard saying down the phone, "I did tell you to use filo pastry and not short-crust."

Dome tickets selling well

Organisers of the year-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at London's O2 Arena were among those who will have been quietly celebrating Andy Murray's run to the semi-finals. With places in the elite singles field going to the eight men with the most ranking points earned in the year, Murray was effectively lying in ninth position going into Wimbledon. The progress of the likes of Tomas Berdych and Robin Soderling is all very well, but Murray is one of the key men when it comes to pulling in crowds. Nevertheless, the tournament is on course to match or better last year's total of 256,000 tickets sold. "We wondered whether the election and the World Cup might have an effect on sales but that hasn't happened," Chris Kermode, the event's managing director, said.

Sex and City love match

Today's men's final should be a good chance for some celebrity-spotting. The Diary can reveal that among the guests of the tournament sponsor Polo Ralph Lauren will be the American actress Kim Cattrall (star of "Sex and the City"), and Britain's heartthrob Mr Darcy, aka Colin Firth.

Pub serves the Serb

Spotted in the Dog and Duck in Wimbledon village on Friday evening: Novak Djokovic, enjoying a pint.