Lather, Rinse, Whinny
Some of the grooming products that keep thoroughbreds' manes silky, tails tangle-free and hooves strong and supple are now available for human use. Among the equine products to be found in drugstores next to Pert and Finesse are Magical Mane shampoo, Tail and Mane Detangler and Hoof Fix. Consumers should be aware, however, that the drugstore versions come without fly repellent.
Net Loss, Net Gain
The woes that bedevil tennis (SI, May 9) came to surface in two very different ways last week. As Jim Courier, citing a lack of desire, walked away from the game at a tournament in Indianapolis, the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP), in hopes of reviving fan interest, unleashed an assortment of what it called "eye and ear candy" during a tournament in New Haven, Conn.
Courier, who turned 24 on the first day of a hiatus that he said might last "one week, one month, one year or 10 years," portended his departure last November at the ATP Tour World Championship in Germany, where he took advantage of a changeover to catch up on some reading. The signal was clear: His motivational fires were burning out. Sure enough, by July he was out of the Top 10. And last week, following a second-round loss in Indianapolis, Courier called it quits.
Meanwhile, in New Haven, the ATP began its quest for greater fan appeal. First, before each match, the competitors were introduced, one at a time, to a song they had requested (Andre Agassi, for instance, chose soulmate Barbra Streisand's The Way We Were). Second, a disc jockey played music during warmups and changeovers, with selections ranging from Frank Sinatra to Pearl Jam. Finally, after some matches the winners stayed on court to field questions from fans.
Agassi was one of many players who decried the playing of music during changeovers, using words like joke, embarrassment and circus to describe the environment during a second-round loss.
But the feeling here is that the ATP has hit on something, at least with the musical introductions and postmatch interviews. Indeed, an exit poll showed that 77% enjoyed the postmatch interview, while only 44% found the match more enjoyable because of the music during changeovers.
Even no-frills immortal Rod Laver liked the introductions and the postmatch interviews. "We thought tiebreakers were the greatest mess of all time, but we adjusted," said Laver. "As long as the music stops when the players are walking onto the court, they'll get used to it."
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