By PETE YOUNG, Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 15, 2003
SYDNEY, Australia -- World No.1 Lleyton Hewitt is threatening to sue the ATP Tour over his fine for not granting an interview to ESPN.
News Ltd. newspapers in Australia reported that unless the dispute was resolved, the Wimbledon champion would take action in the South Australia Supreme Court and seek $1.5-million in damages for defamation and legal costs.
Hewitt was fined $106,000 for allegedly failing to fulfill his commitments in an interview Aug.6. The fine was reduced to $20,000 on appeal Jan.14.
Hewitt says he was prepared to do the interview and that the tour "intentionally and without justification" interfered in his affairs.
BAUSCH & LOMB: Showing no lingering effects from two broken hands, Julia Vakulenko upset Amy Frazier 6-2, 6-4 in the opening round in Amelia Island. Vakulenko fractured a bone in her left hand when she fell at her Barcelona home in June and, two days later, broke her right hand when she fell during practice. She then strained an abdominal muscle and missed six months. Also, Mary Pierce withdrew because of a hip injury and a sinus infection.
WIMBLEDON: ESPN reached a four-year agreement to televise the event from 2003-06. ESPN and ESPN2 will broadcast nearly 120 hours of programming from the All England Club starting June 23, the network said. ... Tim Henman will have a scan today on a shoulder injury that may threaten his 10th consecutive appearance. The three-time semifinalist had surgery in November. Henman returned in February and won one match in four tournaments before reinjuring the shoulder.
DAVIS CUP: The International Tennis Federation agreed to reschedule the Hong Kong-Lebanon match because of the deadly respiratory illness in Southeast Asia. Lebanon refused to send its team to Hong Kong for the Asia/Oceania Zone Group 2 match, which was to be played April 4-6, because of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS.
COLLEGES: USF professor on council
Dr. Jack Romeo, a biology professor and the faculty representative for South Florida athletics, will serve a four-year term on the NCAA management council. The council adopts operating bylaws and rules.
BASEBALL: USF's Travis Brown was named Conference USA's hitter of the week. The junior leftfielder from Bloomingdale High hit .529 (9-of-17) last week.
FOOTBALL: Receivers Chris Iskra and Huey Whittaker, linebacker Maurice Jones and safety Kevin Verpaele were named USF captains.
SOCCER: USF added Bob Dikranian to the men's staff. Dikranian coached Southern Connecticut State for the past 21 seasons. ... Former Bolivian under-17 national team member and junior college All-American Erwin Suarez signed a letter of intent with USF.
TENNIS: A man was killed after the car he was driving collided with a bus carrying the Nebraska women's team. Members had only minor injuries. ... USF's Jorge Escallon, co-president of the student-athlete advisory committee, was named the outstanding male student leader at the 2003 Leadership Awards.
OLYMPICS: He'll still be a Wolverine
Three days after agreeing to serve as president of the U.S. committee if elected, Bill Martin said he will continue to be the University of Michigan athletic director. Martin has been the USOC's acting president since Feb.4, when political and ethical issues led to a slew of resignations.
BASKETBALL: NBA players Karl Malone and Mike Bibby were added to the U.S. national team that will compete in the qualifying tournament in August.
SOCCER: Australia may play host
Australia is prepared to play host to the women's World Cup if it has to be moved from China because of SARS. The virus forced postponement of the draw for the September-October tournament. The Asian zone qualifying rounds planned for this weekend also were postponed. There have been no suggestions from FIFA or from organizers in China that the tournament should be moved.