Olympic tennis may move to WimbledonPosted: Sunday July 06, 2003 4:11 PM
WIMBLEDON, England (AP) -- Olympic tennis may be moving to grass.
International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge watched the men's final from the Royal Box on Sunday and said Wimbledon would add "prestige to the Games" if it became an Olympic venue.
It could happen.
London is bidding for the 2012 Olympics and is among the early favorites with New York and Paris. London bid organizers have suggested Wimbledon might be the site for tennis.
"It is a temple of sport," Rogge said.
"The question is this. If London obtains the Games in 2012, will the International Tennis Federation ask to play on grass, or on clay or another surface," Rogge added. "This is something that simply has to be settled, but I would prefer Wimbledon on grass because it adds to the prestige of the Games.
English Lawn Tennis Association chief executive John Crowther said ITF officials have told him grass would be "an acceptable surface."
Despite Rogge's optimism, there may be problems.
Wimbledon is across town from east London, where the main venues are to be built. That's 15 miles (25 km) through some of the world's most congested streets.
Second, the All England Club is private and closed to the public.
Finally, Wimbledon officials have suggested a large price tag for using the facilities.
Martina Navratilova became Wimbledon's oldest champion by taking her 20th title on Sunday -- and she was planning to take something else.
"I'll have to take another piece of the grass on the way out," she said after teaming with Leander Paes to win mixed doubles on Centre Court. "I still have the one I took in '94. So I think it's time for another little patch."
Navratilova, 46, played her last singles final at Wimbledon in '94, losing to Conchita Martinez. She is Wimbledon's oldest champion, replacing Margaret duPont who won mixed doubles in 1962 at age 44.
Navratilova's 20th Wimbledon title tied her with Billie Jean King for the most titles at the All England Club.
Navratilova and Paes defeated Andy Ram of Israel and Anastassia Rodionova of Russia 6-3, 6-3, in the final. To reach the final, Navratilova and Paes played a semifinal on Sunday, defeating Leos Friedl and Liezel Huber 7-5, 6-4.
King has six singles titles, 10 in doubles and four in mixed. Navratilova has nine singles titles, seven in doubles and four in mixed.
Three-time Wimbledon champion Boris Becker is expecting more Grand Slams from Roger Federer.
"I am convinced he will win many more Wimbledons and U.S. Opens and other Grand Slams," Becker said. "The future has come today."
Becker likes Federer's all-court game.
"We are finally seeing a player with an old technique. He can serve and volley, can stay back, can slice and play the drop shot. He is a good example that you don't need a 135 mph serve or heavy topspin to become a top player."
Australian Pat Cash, the 1987 Wimbledon champion, summed up Mark Philippoussis' problems in a loss in which he had 14 aces -- and Federer had 21.
"Federer played well, but his [Philippoussis'] serve wasn't as effective," Cash said. "He looked like all the pressure was on him. He didn't settle the whole match. He didn't do much wrong. He just wasn't quite as sharp. If he hits these big serves he wins, if he doesn't he loses."
Kim Clijsters and Ai Sugiyama picked up the women's doubles title, defeating Paola Suarez and Virginia Ruano Pascual 6-4, 6-4. The pair won the French Open title last month, also beating Suarez and Ruano Pascual in the championship match.
It was a sweet victory for the Belgian-Japanese duo on Centre Court. They lost the Wimbledon doubles final two years ago, and Sugiyama lost the Wimbledon doubles final in 2000, when she was playing with Julie Halard-Decugis.
The loss was the second straight in the Wimbledon doubles final for the Argentine-Spanish pair, falling a year ago to Serena and Venus Williams.
Martina gets lost
Former Wimbledon champion Martina Hingis was at the All England Club during the fortnight -- and got lost.
One of the stewards on the grounds reported that Hingis approached and asked: "I'm sorry. Can you tell me where I need to go. It's just that I don't come to watch tennis that much."
British bookmakers Ladbrokes has Federer at 5-2 to win the title again next year. Andy Roddick is 4-1, and Lleyton Hewitt 6-1. They also have seven-time champion Peter Sampras at 16-1. ... Federer and Philippoussis had some support in the Royal Box. Australian High Commissioner Michael L'Estrange and speaker of the Australian Parliament Neil Andrew were in the box, as were Swiss Ambassador Bruno Spinner and Swiss Sports Minister Samuel Schmid.