Sports 101

By , Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

Tennis, tennis, everywhere. And not just minuscule tournaments. We're talking major events here. First up, the US Open in Flushing, N.Y., starts Monday and continues for two weeks, Aug. 28-Sept. 10. And then more tennis will grace television screens with the Olympics in Sydney, Sept. 19-28.

The big news at the US Open is that Martina Navratilova will return, marking her first appearance at the National Tennis Center in five years. She came out of retirement earlier this year to play the French Open and Wimbledon. The US Open will add a third Grand Slam event to her comeback tour.

Q: How did Martina Navratilova qualify for the US Open?

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A: She was given a wild card into doubles and mixed doubles from the US Tennis Association. Navratilova's last US Open match was Sept. 4, 1995. Navratilova retired from the WTA tour in November 1994, but has competed at various tournaments since then.

Q: Who are the favorites at the US Open this year?

A: Defending men's champion Andre Agassi and 1997 winner Martina Hingis. Both were seeded No. 1 earlier this week. The seeds are based on year-long rankings.

Q: Pete Sampras will be a top player at the US Open, so why isn't he competing in the Sydney Olympics?

A: Sampras, who won a record 13th Grand Slam title last month at Wimbledon, said he didn't want to make the long trip in September to the Games, which will start shortly after the US Open. "If I'm going to go to the Olympics, it might be when I'm done playing. But not right now," said Sampras, who competed at the 1992 Barcelona Games. "I know the next one's in Athens and - being a Greek - [American] that's a possibility."

Jeff Tarango will take Sampras's place and represent the United States as a professional for the first time.

Q: What are the prospects for the US women's team at the Olympics?

A: Excellent. US women have won five of six gold medals since tennis returned to full-medal Olympic status in 1988 after a 64-year absence. The US Olympic women's tennis team hopes to take home the gold in both singles and doubles. The four-player squad includes defending gold medalist Lindsay Davenport, Monica Seles, and Venus Williams in singles, and Venus and her sister Serena in doubles.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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