Wimbledon diary: Navratilova fulfils ambition with Olympic Games call
Sunday 27 June 2004
Martina Navratilova has been granted her wish to play for the United States at the Athens Games this summer. On the day the Olympic flame made a Centre Court appearance, the 47-year-old was named for her Games debut in the American team. She will play doubles with Lisa Raymond, her partner at Wimbledon. The Williams sisters, Serena and the Olympic singles champion Venus, will form the other doubles pairing and will also play in the singles, along with Jennifer Capriati and Chanda Rubin, at the Games from 13 to 29 August. Andy Roddick, the US Open champion who is ranked No 2 in the world, will be joined in the men's squad by Mardy Fish, Vince Spadea and Taylor Dent in the singles. He will play doubles with Fish along with the twins Bob and Mike Bryan.
Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, is also heading for Athens represent Spain in the Olympic doubles but while Navratilova managed at least to win one match in the singles, the Spaniard, who retired from the tour in 2002, is still looking for some success. She had little time to sharpen her game as she and Anabel Medina Garrigues lost 6-2 6-2 to the former Wimbledon champion and compatriot Conchita Martinez and the Slovak Janette Husarova, in the first round of the women's doubles. Now she will try her luck in the mixed with the American Jared Palmer.
Rain was a mixed blessing for Sue Callaghan, one of the tennis fanatics queuing outside the All England Club in the hope of seeing Tim Henman play. Now there will be another "People's Sunday" today to cut the tournament's backlog of matches their soggy wait will be cut by half. Callaghan has queued every summer for the last 22 years for the chance to enjoy the action and her "true Brit" spirit stretches beyond her Union Jack trousers, waistcoat and hat. Bearing the words "Go Tim go" across the back of her waistcoat, she boasts the stoic acceptance of failure that all Henman fans need. "I still forgive him for losing," she said of his four semi-final defeats. "I could jump out there on the court and ask why do you put us through this?" On seeing that outfit, others might ask her the same question.
Mark Philippoussis thinks the media are "rude" in their reporting of his relationship with the pop singer Delta Goodrem. The Australian bridled when asked by the press if there was any link between his love life and his recent poor on-court form. "I'm a professional athlete. If people have something to say about my tennis, they should say it about my tennis," he said. "They should blame my tennis, you know, not anything in my personal life. I think, you know, it's rude. I think it definitely shows there is no class there. I have no problem if people talk about my tennis, that's fine, that's what it's all about. I take it on the chin, try and improve, try to do what's right. But I think people should keep away from personal things." OK, Scud, point taken... but how are things with you and Delta?
Richard Williams, mentor, coach and father to Serena and Venus, is delighted that his daughters have other interests in life. Serena has dipped into a part-time acting career, while Venus is studying interior design. Both sisters also have a keen interest in fashion design. "Tennis is not everything and it never will be," Williams said. "They are doing a lot of things right now. If that means they don't play the type of tennis they once played, that is quite OK with the family. Venus and Serena were taught there is life beyond the baseline."
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