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Wimbledon notebook

Pete's parents pop up

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Latest: Wednesday August 16, 2000 02:50 PM

LONDON (Ticker) -- Pete Sampras, who embraced his parents in the crowd after winning his record 13th Grand Slam title, was asked why they had not seen him win a major title in person before.

"They've not come because they get very nervous, and being superstitious, and they are very shy people and don't like to be on camera," Sampras said. "But they have always been very supportive and very loving."

Although they have stayed away from most of their son's matches, Sampras was happy his parents were able to fly in from California to witness his record-breaking achievement.

"You want them to be part of some situations in your career and this was one of them," Sampras said. "It means a lot to me to share this with them and I am glad they hopped on the plane. You don't worry about not winning (when they come). If it didn't happen, it didn't happen. It didn't faze me." ...

SAMPRAS DOUBTFUL: Pete Sampras, still bothered by tendinitis above his left ankle, made it through seven matches to win Wimbledon, but is unsure about next week's Davis Cup semifinal in Spain.

U.S. team captain John McEnroe has aid he fears Sampras will be unavailable.

"It's hard to really say at this point," Sampras said. "I've taken some pretty aggressive measures to play here. It's time to let this thing heal properly.

"But I'll do whatever I can to make the trip. How effective I'll be, I don't know. If things are good, I'm planning on going."

The match will be on clay, Sampras' worst surface. McEnroe has said he might use Sampras in doubles only.

Andre Agassi, Todd Martin and Jan-Michael Gambill are expected to be on the U.S. team.

RAIN RECORDS: Except for the showers in Sunday's men's final, this year's two-week run at Wimbledon had been nearly rain-free.

Although this year has been relatively dry but with little sunshine, the last several Wimbledons have been rain-soaked.

Last year, rain completely washed out play on the second Tuesday. Two years ago rain also plagued the fortnight. And 1997 went down in the Wimbledon record books as one of the wettest ever.

That year play was completely washed out on the first Thursday and Friday. In 1996, rain on four days during the second week pushed back women's doubles until Monday.

The forecast for Monday at Wimbledon also looks dubious. "Monday should be fairly cold and blustery with afternoon showers and heavier rain," said a spokesman for the Met Office, Britain's weather service.

"It's doesn't look very promising."

ROYAL BOX: They were running out of room Sunday in the Royal Box at Wimbledon.

Newly knighted Sean Connery was there. So was Australian Prime Minister John Howard and American ambassador to Britain, Philip Lader. There were also a few tennis greats around: four-time Wimbledon runner-up Ken Rosewall, 1960 champion Neale Fraser, 1949 champion Ted Schroeder, and 1952 champion Frank Sedgeman. Also on hand was International Olympic Committee President Juan Antonio Samaranch.

Also on hand in the star-studded audience was Tom Hanks, celebrating his 44th birthday. He chatted before the match with former Wimbledon champion John McEnroe.

LOOKING UP: This is how tennis is evolving. The two women's finalists - Venus Williams and Lindsay Davenport - were taller than the two men's finalists. Pete Sampras and Pat Rafter are both listed at 6-foot-1. Venus Williams is 6-1 and Lindsay Davenport is 6-2 1/2.

TOSS: Twelve-year-old Raju Tital of India tossed the coin in the women's singles final on Saturday. An orphan, he was nominated by the charity Future Hope (Calcutta).

UNDER THE WEATHER: According to the Wimbledon doctor, somewhere between 20 and 30 players are affected by what he called "pollinosos," better known as hay fever.

Australia's Ken Rosewall is one of the most famous players in tournament history to have suffered from hay fever. One of the best known current players is third-seeded Swede Magnus Norman, who lost in the second round at the hands of little-known Belgian Olivier Rochus.

As long as they are checked first, nasal sprays and eye drops can be used to fry competitors who are suffering. Those at risk of breathing difficulties are even permitted to inject themselves while waiting in the locker room before the match. And they are allowed on the grass. ...

RECORD SPEED: As well as winning the first Grand Slam title of her career, Venus Williams became the fastest female server at Wimbledon. The new champion delivered her fastest at 119 miles per hour, eight below her career best but pretty remarkable given the heavier balls which have been used the past couple of seasons.

The second-fastest delivery? You've probably guessed, Venus' younger sister, Serena, who served at 116 mph.

The women are catching up to the men, according to some physiologists.

The fastest serve by a man this time was just 18 miles an hour faster. It was delivered by Mark Philippoussis, although it occurred during the quarterfinal in which he was beaten by Andre Agassi. ...

SINGING THEIR PRAISES: Pop singer and tennis fanatic Cliff Richard is so impressed by the Williams sisters that he wants to find a British version of the two Americans.

"I've met kids with a low self-image, but after discovering a sport like tennis, they're buzzing," said Sir Cliff, who says he wants to raise $1.5 million to upgrade public tennis courts.

So determined is the ageless knight (59) to expand the campaign that he obtained permission to get a street closed in one of London's most famous districts, Knightsbridge, and turned it into a mini-Wimbledon to raise money. ...

ANIMAL LOVERS: Wimbledon has been using a hawk to circle the grounds and scare off the pigeons, after the repeated dive-bombing attempts by the birds last year both on Centre Court and court No. 1.

Now the All-England Club may hire a cat. More than $1.5 million has been spent on new media and player facilities where the old court No. 1 used to be. Unfortunately, it already is housing mice.

"There's a cat ready for work which was found at Queen's Club," a Wimbledon official said. ...

Related information
Turner Sports' Courier: Rafter earns his spot
Venus Williams wins Wimbledon title
Notebook: Venus might skip Olympics if Serena isn't picked for team
Sampras downs Rafter for Wimbledon title
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