The tennis tourney A wide-receiver pas(s) de trois

The ultimate tennis tournament -- that's about the best description for what 20th Century-Fox-Sports hopes to produce in Hawaii next December. Besides combining elements of tournament and national team play, the inaugural World Games will offer $600,000 in prize money, the richest tennis purse ever.

Not all the details have been worked out, but the basic format calls for something resembling a tennis Olympics.The competition will bring together 32 of the top men and women players in the world to play on eight national/regional teams. This is a first, since the sexes have always gone their separate ways before, the men vying for the Davis Cup and the women for the Federation Cup, two competitions that will continue.

Another unique feature of the World Games is its provision for individual medals and prize money in addition to team awards. Donald Dell, a noted tennis figure whose Professional Services Inc. is helping to launch the games, calls the format "tremendously exciting and motivating for players who can compete for their country and at the same time strive for individual success as in tournament tennis."

Twelve hours of live cable-TV coverage will be beamed around the world via satellite, giving the tournament unusually generous exposure for a tennis event in December.

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