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Sports briefs

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 25, 2001


Wimbledon scraps process for seeding

Wimbledon is doing away with its seeding committee and increasing prize money, but that's not enough to satisfy the men's and women's tennis tours.

In a move to avert a boycott by the world's leading clay-court players, the All England Club announced Tuesday it was dropping its seeding panel for the men's event because the panel's decisions were "subjective and open to misinterpretations."

Club chairman Tim Phillips said he would continue to work with the ATP, which runs the men's tour, to devise an "objective and transparent" seeding system for this summer's championships, which start June 25.

Gustavo Kuerten, the world's top clay-courter, and several other players have raised the possibility of boycotting the tournament if the club continues with a policy favoring grass-court specialists.

They want Wimbledon to stick with the official ATP entry list, which ranks players according to results over the previous 52 weeks.

"It would be a tragedy if (a boycott) happened, and I'm very confident it won't happen," Phillips said.

The ATP said disbanding the seedings committee was a positive first step but called for further action to ensure a fair system for all players.

Wimbledon also announced a 5.5 percent increase in prize money, to $12.15-million, but stuck to its policy of paying more to the men than the women. Total prize money for the men will be $6-million, the women $5.1-million.

MORE TENNIS: Second-seeded Todd Martin struggled to a 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (7-5) victory against Jiri Vanek at the Verizon Challenge in Atlanta. Martin was playing for the second time since injuring his back in a Davis Cup match Feb. 9. Michael Chang, the No. 3 seed, broke service four times, including at 5-5 in the first set of a 7-5, 6-3 victory against David Sanchez. ... Gustavo Kuerten withdrew from the Seat Godo Open in Barcelona, Spain, because of an injured right thigh. ... No. 1 seed Kristina Brandi of Tampa beat Maja Palversic 6-3, 6-3 at the USTA's Challenger of Sarasota/Bradenton.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Clemson defensive lineman Marcus Lewis was removed from the team by coach Tommy Bowden for his role in a series of campus burglaries last year.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Skip Prosser, who helped turn Xavier into a perennial post-season tournament team, was chosen to replace Dave Odom as coach at Wake Forest. ... Jason Kapono, UCLA's leading scorer the past two seasons, will return for his junior year instead of applying for the NBA draft.

COLLEGE BASEBALL: Evan Brannon's single scored Bill Nahorodny in the 10th inning to give host South Florida a 13-12 win against Central Florida. The Bulls trailed 8-0 after the top of the first. ... Pinch-hitter Charlie Manning drove in Tom Jachimczyk with a single in the eighth inning as Tampa beat Warner Southern 2-1 in Lake Wales.

COLLEGES: USF's Brett Hitchcock (141), from Tampa Chamberlain, led after two rounds at the Conference USA men's golf tournament in Navarre. Houston (582) led the team competition, followed by UAB (589) and USF (593).

SOCCER: Ecuador moved into third place in South American qualifying for the 2002 World Cup, rallying to beat visiting Paraguay 2-1 despite playing a man short for much of the game. Colombia scored twice in the final seven minutes to gain a 2-2 tie at Venezuela, and Uruguay won 1-0 at Chile.

BOXING: Adrian Ogun, business manager for former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis, said Lewis' co-promoters and HBO have reached an agreement that sets Aug. 18 for a possible rematch with Hasim Rahman, who beat Lewis for the title Saturday.

TRACK AND FIELD: Retired world shot put champion C.J. Hunter was acquitted of shoving a man using the track at N.C. State. Hunter, who works at the school as a volunteer coach, had been charged with misdemeanor assault. Garfield Ellenwood accused Hunter of confronting him in January.

BUSINESS: Ross Bartow was named president of the Tampa Bay Sports Commission, a regional group devoted to bringing amateur athletic events to the area and developing youth programs. Bartow most recently was vice president and general manager of the Memphis Motorsports Park. He previously spent 20 years in Tampa working with the Tampa Sports Authority, the University of Tampa, the Tampa Bay Rowdies and the Tampa Tarpons.

CYCLING: Tyler Hamilton, a teammate of Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong, should return to racing within six weeks after crashing Sunday, his United States Postal Service team said.

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