THE WEEK AHEAD: MAIN EVENTS

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TODAY

Tennis: The Wimbledon Championships continue into their second week. If it can match a virtually rainless first week that saw record attendances, a major upset in the defeat of Martina Hingis, and smooth progress from home favourites Henman and Rusedski, Wimbledon 99 could prove to be one of the best for many years. Most will be hoping for a men's final involving one of the above Brits, while those of a tabloid persuasion will be praying for a final between Mary Pierce or Jelena Dokic and Anna Kournikova in the women's.

TOMORROW

Football: Even in the very midst of the close season, football refuses to leave our schedule. The Copa America kicks off in Paraguay, with three groups of four teams battling it out for places in the quarter-finals. The host nation predictably manages to avoid Brazil and Argentina in the first stage, and will look to build on a better-than-expected performance in France 98, where the eventual world champions needed a Laurent Blanc golden goal to beat them. Aside from these three, Chile and Mexico could be the dark horses, while Japan pretend not to be Asian in a guest appearance. The tournament begins with Paraguay versus Bolivia, and Peru against Japan.

Rugby League: Sheffield Sharks play the first half of a tricky double- header, as they entertain JJB Super League debutants Gateshead Thunder. The Thunder have made a solid enough start, even if the crowds are not yet there at home. Sharks then face a daunting derby with Leeds Rhinos on Friday.

THURSDAY

Cricket: New captain Nasser Hussain leads England for the first time, against New Zealand at Edgbaston. The Kiwis had an unexpectedly successful World Cup and will prove equally difficult opponents in the five-day game. In reaching the semi-finals, the naturalised Roger Twose averaged 79.5 runs, while Geoff Allott confounded his critics by finishing fourth in the bowling averages and taking 20 wickets.

Golf: The Murphy's Irish Open gets under way at Druid's Glen in Dublin, with John Daly one of the many star attractions in a strong field. Daly recently complained about the Pinehurst course for the US Open after finishing 29 over par, despite leading early on. So he won't be amused to learn that Druid's Glen is a similar course to Pinehurst, with lots of rough to stray into. Daley may find some solace in the famed Dublin taverns, but given his well-documented struggles with alcoholism the trip to Dublin - followed by the Scottish Open at Loch Lomond and the Open at Carnoustie - may not prove the best of therapy.

SATURDAY

Cycling: The Tour de France retains a very special place in the French national psyche, but last year's race was dogged by controversy from the Prologue onwards. The absence this year of Bjarne Riis, Jan Ullrich and Marco Pantani - the last three winners - will hardly help Le Tour to rise above its problems. It will prove even harder if Gallic favourite Richard Virenque's appeal this week fails to overturn the ban he received for being caught up in the doping scandal of last year. Even so, the last Tour of the millennium will commence from Le Puy-du-Fou and remains almost exclusively in France this year, including another visit to the Futuroscope park at Poitiers.

Racing: The highlight of a strong programme at Sandown is the Eclipse Stakes, where Daylami, winner of the Coronation Cup at Epsom, is likely to be the favourite. The French hope Croco Rouge is also expected to be in contention, along with Lear Spear, winner of the Prince Of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot, and Alborada.

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