Wednesday, January 14
Serving it up in Melbourne
ESPN.com wire services
|PHOTO OF THE DAY|
No. 4 seed Juan Carlos Ferrero gives his racket a twirl during his opening-round match against Franco Squillari. Ferrero won 7-6 (5), 3-6, 6-2, 6-3.
|GRAND SLAM SNIPPETS
• One of the hottest players on tour, No. 11 Paradorn Srichaphan
of Thailand, is adjusting to the attention he's getting after his breakthrough year in 2002.|
"After I won Stockholm it's a big change when I go back home,"
he said. "A lot of people recognize me. They always ask for my
autograph. Normally I go to the mall and it would be no
problem. Nobody going to stop me for an autograph. But now it's
like everybody was coming to me and asking for an autograph,
even asking me to talk on the phone with their family. Which is
great. They're proud for me that I'm doing well and they
respect me a lot."
• Venus Williams is trying her hand at home
"I'm best at tennis ... but I'm also very good at decorating
and design,'' Williams said after her 6-4, 6-2 victory over Russian
"Most people, you know, if they do call my office, if they're
confident enough to call, they have to give myself and my company
enough trust that I can do their home, that I can be able to make
their dreams come true in their home.''
Asked if people also sought her autograph, she added: "Sure,
they're hopefully excited about my play and my accomplishments in
tennis. But other than that, I'm also serious about the design.''
Since the days when Ivan Lendl wore foreign
legion-style caps to help counter the harsh effects of the
Australian summer, concerns about extreme heat have been a fixture
during the year's first Grand Slam tournament.
But fears that the temperature could hit 98 on Monday failed to
materialize, with a maximum reading of 90.
Sweltering conditions are forecast for later in the week, but
wind seemed to be more of a concern for players.
"It wasn't too hot. It was a bit breezy. The breeze played a
bit more havoc on the match than heat,'' Andre Agassi said after
his opening-round victory.
Venus Williams also wasn't too worried.
"I feel as long as I have a hat, I'm fine,'' Williams said.
"Without a hat, it can be pretty brutal.''
Problems with heat in past years have led to a tightening of the
tournament's extreme heat policy.
Matches in progress will be completed, but no new matches will
start when the temperature reaches 95 -- a reduction from 100 last
year -- and when a heat stress measure known as the wet bulb globe
temperature reaches 28. Both must occur simultaneously.
The wet bulb globe temperature is a combination of air
temperature, humidity, intensity of solar radiation and wind speed.
Down Under Details
Aussie drought: Of the four Grand Slam tournaments, only
Wimbledon has gone longer than the Australian Open without a
citizen of the home country winning the men's title.
Fred Perry was the last British man to win Wimbledon, in 1936.
The last Australian to win the Australian Open was Mark Edmondson
in 1976. Pat Cash was a finalist in 1987 and 1988.
The U.S. Open is completely up to date -- Pete Sampras won in
2002. France's Yannick Noah won the French Open in 1983.
Longevity list: Amy Frazier will be appearing in her 56th Grand
Slam tournament in the Australian Open starting Monday, and
Conchita Martinez in her 53rd.
Martinez won Wimbledon in 1994 and was runner-up in Australia in
1998 and France in 2000. Last year, her top finish at a major was
reaching the third round at Wimbledon.
On the men's side, Andre Agassi and Wayne Ferreira are appearing
in their 50th.
Agassi has won seven majors, including Australia in 1995, 2000
Ferreira's best was reaching the Australian semifinals in 1992,
but he has not missed a Grand Slam since the 1990 U.S. Open and
stands second in consecutive appearances with 49. Stefan Edberg
played in 54 consecutive majors, ending with the 1996 U.S. Open.
Among active male players, Michael Chang, with 55, and Pete
Sampras, with 52, have the most Grand Slam appearances, and Sampras
is a 14-time winner. Both are skipping the Australian Open.
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On family life:
"I think it gives me the opportunity to rest
my mind in some pretty special ways. Whether you've had a good day
or bad day doesn't really matter when you see your little boy.''
On how his life changed after being runner-up:
"Before Wimbledon, nobody knew me. After, everybody watches
On struggling in the opening round:
"I think it
was a little bit of the nerves. I had never lost in the first round
of a Grand Slam.''