Vive le difference!
Arrogant but open. Cowardly but courageous. Egalitarian but anti-Semitic. That would be the French - at least in the opinions of significant numbers of Americans surveyed for the popular publication Le Figaro. Last month, its pollsters asked 1,000 people their impressions of France. Perhaps guided by descriptions in the US news media of the French as "cheese-eating surrender monkeys" because of their leaders' opposition to the war in Iraq, 12 percent of respondents said they wouldn't expect help from Paris in a tight spot. Ten percent took the opposite view. Still, 36 percent foresaw warmer relations between the French and US governments in the future, versus 22 percent who did not. Ah, but when asked what clichés best apply to France, cuisine and the charm of Paris led the list. Hardly anyone cited that time-honored national institution: the strike.
At the US Open tennis tournament, which began its two-week New York run Monday, seven women are competing who have been ranked No. 1 in the world at some point. Currently top-ranked by the Women's Tennis Association is Lindsay Davenport, who has spent more weeks overall as No. 1 than any of her rivals. The all-time leaders, the number of weeks each was ranked at the top, and the date she first landed there:
Steffi Graf Aug. 17, 1987 377
Martina Navratilova July 10, 1978 331
Chris Evert Nov. 3, 1975 262
Martina Hingis March 31, 1997 209
Monica Seles March 11, 1991 178
Lindsay Davenport Oct. 12, 1998 82
Serena Williams July 8, 2002 57
Justine Henin-Hardenne Oct. 20, 2003 45
Tracy Austin April 7, 1980 22
Jennifer Capriati Oct. 15, 2001 17