Officials pull plug on Cowan's tapes

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The Independent Online

Barry Cowan will have to Walkman alone from now on. Britain's Davis Cup player will not be able to listen to his personal cassette player on court any more as a new ruling has pressed the stop button on his major inspiration.

Officials have outlawed the headphones which blared out "You'll Never Walk Alone" as Cowan entered the hearts of a nation as a gallant loser in a five-set thriller with Pete Sampras at Wimbledon in June.

Cowan – named alongside Tim Henman, Greg Rusedski and Martin Lee in the squad for the Davis Cup match with Equador in a former bullring in Guayaquil – put his performance against Sampras down to the Anfield anthem. He tuned in regularly to his CD player during the end changes.

The Liverpool fan is understandably upset to be losing his unusual form of game improvement which was suggested to him by a sports psychologist. "I am no longer allowed to listen to my Walkman on the court. The tour have said it's illegal and that's a bit disappointing."

But the officials defended their move, saying: "If a player is wearing headphones on the court he will be asked to remove them essentially because no-one can know exactly what it is they are listening to."