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Sports briefs

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 27, 2001


Hingis' mom steps aside as coach

Martina Hingis, the world's top female tennis player whose first attempt to cut loose from her mother's coaching ended in failure two years ago, is trying again to make it on her own, according to Swiss media reports.

Hingis' mother, Melanie Molitor, confirmed to the Zurich daily Tages-Anzeiger from the family home in eastern Switzerland that she no longer regards herself as her daughter's coach.

Molitor said her personal relationship with her daughter remains "intact. And there hasn't been a fight. Martina phones often. She's coming next week from Florida to Switzerland and will train here for several days."

Mario Widmer, Molitor's companion, told Tages-Anzeiger he no longer is Hingis' manager but "I am still her adviser."

Molitor said the separation came after Hingis lost to Venus Williams in the semifinals of the Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne last month.

"There was tension between the professional and the personal relationships," Tages-Anzeiger quoted her as saying. "The separation was at that time the only possibility to avoid damaging the personal relationship. Whenever three people as different as Martina, Mario and I live together, everyone always has to be ready to make compromises.

"However, all the compromises got too big for everybody and the personal relationships suffered. We didn't want that."

MORE TENNIS: Seventh-seeded Thomas Enqvist defeated Andrei Medvedev 7-6 (8-6), 7-5 to reach the quarterfinals of the Seat Godo Open in Barcelona, Spain. Juan Carlos Ferrero, the top remaining seed after the withdrawals of Gustavo Kuerten and Magnus Norman, defeated Davis Cup teammate and 1997 Godo winner Albert Costa 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.

FISHING: The Texas Shrimp Association is asking federal officials to shut down the red snapper season in the Gulf of Mexico. Shrimpers said their boats are unintentionally catching too many snapper, dangerously reducing their population.

They want the Department of Commerce to issue an emergency order to commercial and recreational snapper fishermen to reduce this season's catch from 9.12-million pounds to 3-million pounds.

Commercial snapper fishermen in the gulf have caught 2.9-million pounds since February, according to the National Marine Fisheries Service. The recreational red snapper season began Saturday.

"The season is too small for a lot of people to survive economically as it is. Cutting the catch by two-thirds would be disastrous," said Ralph Atkins, owner of Mobile's Southern Fish and Oyster Co.

BOXING: A Baltimore police officer was trying to stop traffic at a busy downtown intersection Wednesday when a convertible carrying new heavyweight champion Hasim Rahman was struck as his motorcade left City Hall, police and witnesses said. Rahman's wife, Crystal, was released from Johns Hopkins Hospital after being treated for cuts and bruises she sustained when she was thrown from the convertible. ... The Ohio Athletic Commission has changed the decision in a bout between Olympic medalist Ricardo Williams Jr. and Damian Guerra from a technical draw to a "no contest." The junior welterweight bout April 20 was stopped after the second round after an accidental head-butt by Williams cut Guerra over his eye.

TRACK: The North Carolina women's team won its first Penn Relays title, taking the distance medley relay in school record time. The team of Beth George, Edi Ntuen, Alice Schmidt and Shalane Flanagan was timed in 11 minutes, 3.52 seconds, smashing the Tar Heels' outdoor mark by more than nine seconds. ... Abdi Abdirahman, 10th in the 5,000 meters at the Sydney Olympics, won that event by almost 200 meters at the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa. Vladimir Golias won the 3,000 steeplechase for the third time in four years.

BASKETBALL: The USBL will open its 16th season with three games tonight, and it will be the first chance to see the rules changes to be implemented next season by the NBA. The four changes are: eliminating all illegal defense guidelines; establishing a defensive three-second rule; reducing from 10 seconds to eight the time a team will have to advance the ball past midcourt; and eliminating touch fouls by allowing brief contact initiated by a defensive player if it does not impede the progress of the player with the ball.

HOCKEY: Graham James, the former junior hockey coach who served almost three years in prison for sexually abusing two former players, is working as an assistant coach for the Spanish national team.

SOCCER: Defender Colin Hendry was banned from Scotland's next six international matches for elbowing San Marino striker Nicola Albani on March 28 in a qualifying match for next year's World Cup finals. ... Viktor Bannykov, who played for the Soviet national team in the 1960s and '70s and was recognized as the best Soviet goalkeeper, died Wednesday in Kiev after a long illness. He was 62.

DOGS: One ticketholder hit the Tri-Super to win a track record $180,501.80 payoff at Palm Beach Kennel Club.

TABLE TENNIS: Four-time defending champion China, Japan and the two Koreas advanced to the semifinals in the women's team event at the World Championships in Osaka, Japan.

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