Saturday, January 31, 2004

Navratilova swears she's done after '04


Australian Open notebook

By Dennis Passa
The Associated Press

MELBOURNE, Australia - Martina Navratilova suspects she'll never be too far from a tennis court once she retires. And she insists she's finished after this year.

"There is nothing that can change my mind," the 47-year-old tennis great said Friday after advancing to Sunday's mixed doubles final at the Australian Open with partner Leander Paes. "I'm happy with my decision."

Once she leaves, she'd like to continue doing TV work. At Melbourne Park, she's doing duty - player and commentator.

"I'd love to do TV. I really enjoy it and it's fun," she said. "I think I'm getting better at it."

"But I would like to stay involved on the political side," she said without elaborating. "If I can make a difference there, there are some things that need to be changed on the tour."

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NAME GAME: Kim Clijsters likes her name just as it and has no intention of changing it when she marries.

So there will be no Kim Hewitt or Kim Clijsters-Hewitt after she and Lleyton Hewitt tie the knot. The two became engaged before Christmas.

"I am proud of my name, Clijsters," she said. "When I marry, my name will not change." Clijsters' father, Leo, played international soccer for Belgium.

Others have taken a different route, among them Belgian countrywoman Justine Henin, who became Henin-Hardenne after getting married in 2002.

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WORK LOAD: Todd Woodbridge would have liked a few more hours to rest before his doubles semifinal at the Australian Open.

Woodbridge and Jonas Bjorkman of Sweden lost their semifinal 6-1, 6-2 to American twins Bob and Mike Bryan. The match came just 17 hours after their quarterfinal.

They complained that they had not finished the quarterfinal until shortly after midnight Wednesday, then had to be back for the semi on Thursday afternoon.

"Why the rush for us to have to play today, particularly the way the schedule went last night," Woodbridge said. "Let's give them some credit - they played a very sharp match. But I don't think we were given the best opportunity to play hard at them."

Woodbridge has won a record 79 tour doubles titles. He and Bjorkman won the Wimbledon and U.S. Open doubles titles last year.

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STOPPING AGASSI: Andre Agassi takes pride in his Australian Open run, a streak lasting 26 straight victories and three titles that was finally stopped by Marat Safin in the semifinals.

"Looking back, it's not easy to do that, that's for sure," Agassi said. "I never went into it thinking it was easy, and certainly not coming out of it thinking it was easy."

The streak placed him fifth overall in Grand Slam competition. Bjorn Borg leads with 41 straight wins at Wimbledon between 1976 and 1981, followed by Pete Sampras (31, Wimbledon, 1997-01), Borg again (28, French Open, 1978-81) and Ivan Lendl (27, U.S. Open, 1985-88).




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