The week in tennis at a glance

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The Independent Online

STARS

STARS

- Russia's Marat Safin beat Harel Levy of Israel 6-2, 6-3 to win the Tennis Masters Series-Toronto.

- Venus Williams won the Acura Classic, beating American compatriot Monica Seles 6-0, 6-7 (3), 6-3 in Carlsbad, California.

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SPEAKING

"There's a lot of things that I'm not doing right, but I'm still winning." - Venus Williams.

"She has more confidence now. Winning Wimbledon has helped her out a lot." - Monica Seles, about Venus Williams.

"I saw him when I was 11 years old. He was like God to me. Now I see his name in all the draws and it's normal for me." - Marat Safin on Pete Sampras.

"I feel like I'm at my home turf. I can't wait to get there. It's like, 'This is my place. You have to deal with me.' It feels very special." - Serena Williams, on defending her U.S. Open title.

"Obviously I had bigger hopes than going out in the first round. But I didn't lose to Mr. Nobody. I lost to Richard Krajicek." - Sweden's Magnus Norman.

"I tried pretty much everything. She just wouldn't miss anything." - Martina Hingis, after losing to American Amy Frazier.

"The problem I learned from the last shoulder problem was that if it's not getting any better while I'm playing, it's time to take time off and get it while it's early." - Patrick Rafter, who withdrew from Cincinnati and announced he was returning to Bermuda for treatment.

"If I'm going to go to the Olympics, it might be when I'm done playing. But not right now." - Pete Sampras.

"They hit different. Monica plays much smarter, Monica goes for angles. She moves the ball really well. She makes you run. Venus just hits hard, anywhere." - Anna Kournikova, after losing to Monica Seles.

"We remain convinced that Mr Becker does not have to pay anything." - Erich Samson, Boris Becker's tax advisor, after the former player was told he owes $4.63 million in back taxes.

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SYDNEY SNUB

Lisa Raymond, ranked No 1 in the world in doubles, believes she should have been picked for the US Olympic team instead of Serena Williams, who will play doubles with her sister Venus. The Williams sisters are the reigning Wimbledon and US Open champions. Raymond, who won the Australian Open with Australian Rennae Stubbs, has hired Los Angeles lawyer Gregory Becker and filed a complaint with the US Olympic Committee since the rules stipulate the team is based on rankings.

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SUCH A BILL

The German tax administration says three-time Wimbledon champion Boris Becker owes $4.63 million, according to Bild am Sonntag newspaper. Becker is alleged to have used a residence he had in Monaco to avoid paying tax while still living in Germany from 1985 to 1993. Tax administration investigators raided Becker's home outside Munich in December 1996. Erich Samson, Becker's tax adviser, said Becker, 32, denied any wrongdoing. Since retiring from competitive tennis, Becker has become involved in sports marketing.

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STILL SEEKING

Anna Kournikova is still seeking her first WTA Tour title after reaching the semifinals of the Acura Classic. In 76 career tournaments, Kournikova has reached only two finals, the last more than a year ago. Yet the 19-year-old Russian is pleased with her progress. It was her second straight semifinal and she is playing more aggressively. And her serve, once the laughing stock of the tour, is no longer a major liability.

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SHOULDERING PAIN

Patrick Rafter's right shoulder is bothering him again. The Australian star, who had surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff in the shoulder last fall, reached the final at Wimbledon, losing to Pete Sampras, then immediately played Davis Cup against Brazil. His shoulder started bothering him again in Toronto and he withdrew from the Tennis Masters Series-Cincinnati. He is returning to his home in Bermuda where he will undergo treatment. "It's not getting better," Rafter said. "In fact, it's starting to get worse. So I have to take time off now if I want to be ready by the US Open." He will be carrying the Olympic torch around the Sydney Opera House the day before the Game's opening ceremony.

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STARRING HAREL

Until he reached the final at Toronto, where he lost to Marat Safin, the most attention Harel Levy of Israel received was when he beat Michael Chang in a satellite tournament in Aptos, California, last summer. Levy, who won his semifinal on his 22nd birthday, is the first Israeli player to make an impact since Amos Mansdorf and Shlomo Glickstein.

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SILVER LINING RANCH

WTA Tour players donated auction items to raise money for Andrea Jaeger's Silver Lining Ranch. Monica Seles, Conchita Martinez and Anna Kournikova donated autographed racquets, while a Venus Williams-signed Wimbledon program collected $500. A trip to next year's Wimbledon, with airfare, centre court tickets and two nights hotel, went for $50,000.

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SITES TO SURF www.masters-series.com/cincinnati/ www.estyle.com www.tenniscanada.com

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Tournaments This Week

ATP TOUR $2,950,000 Tennis Masters Series-Cincinnati, hard, Cincinnati

SANEX WTA TOUR $535,000 estyle.com Classic, hard, Los Angeles

Tournaments week of Aug. 7

ATP TOUR $870,000 RCA Championships, hard, Indianapolis, Ind. $725,000 Legg Mason Tennis Classic, hard, Washington, D.C.

SANEX WTA TOUR $1,080,000 du Maurier Open, hard, Montreal

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