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MAMA KNOWS BEST
More battle news from the tennis front: Jimmy Connors, the one-man war, withdrew from last week's $150,000 Grand Prix Masters in Houston to play in the $320,000 Challenge Cup in Las Vegas. This angered the Masters people, who felt that World Championship Tennis, which puts on the Challenge Cup, should not have scheduled their event in conflict with the Masters and, in any case, should not have lured Connors away. WCT said it was Connors' choice, that Jimmy could have played in Houston if he wanted. "He decided to come here," the WCT's George Pharr said blandly.
Connors' decision to play in Las Vegas not only disturbed those responsible for the Masters, it rankled U.S. Davis Cup officials, too. Connors said he would be unable to take part in cup play against Mexico next week because of injuries—reportedly a bad back and sprained ankles—but after that news was made public Jimmy, injuries and all, went off to play in Las Vegas (he beat Vitas Gerulaitis, won $50,000 and upped his 1976 winnings to $657,335).
Connors' mother Gloria declared that passing up the Davis Cup was her idea. "I must decide what's best for Jimmy in this situation," she said. "He's got to be sat on. The decision is not his." Right, Jim? Right, Mom.
More cheerful news comes from the women's side of the net. When World Tennis magazine released its annual international women's rankings, with Chris Evert on top for the third straight year, it noted that Chris is only 21, the fifth-, sixth-, seventh- and eighth-ranked are only 20 and the 10th is 21. Thus, despite Evert's domination, the future of women's competition seems bright.
As though to endorse this, an announcement from London reports that the prospect of the women boycotting Wimbledon next year unless they receive parity in prize money with the men, as they threatened last summer, has been averted. Under a new agreement, prize money for women's singles will be 90% of that for men's singles, which may not be exact parity but apparently is close enough.
ALOHA, YOU ALL
Tubbs had decided to promote attendance at Lamar's home games by staging a basket-shooting contest at halftime during the Cardinals' home opener. If a fan chosen by lot from the crowd could hit a shot from midcourt, he would win a free trip to Hawaii. Naturally, Tubbs was not too worried about his chances of actually having to spring for the trip.