Sports News

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By Peter Smith

Yes, it's the sport and let's start with the All-England Tennis Championships at Wimbledon. I am very sorry to inform our listeners that after only three days of conflict, Czech casualties are stacked high on the lush green battlefields of South London - blasted into mediocrity by the likes of former Ladies Champion Conchita Martinez and never-was champion Todd Martin.

The ladies are hardly worth mentioning. Bedanova, Chladkova, Gersi and the rest of the girls all mercilessly gunned down in round one. In the men's, Jiri Novak offered a semblance of Czech resistance by overcoming the Spaniard Fernando Vicente in straight sets. Unfortunately, Novak got a bit a cocky against the American Todd Martin in round 2, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory by throwing away a two-set lead before going down 6-4 in the fifth.

But, as the smoke clears and boos subside, there on court one stands the solitary figure of Slava Dosedel - the great Czech hope. Luckily for Slava, the smoke obscured his traitorous act of felling compatriot Jan Vacek in the first round. Unluckily for Slava, on Thursday afternoon he will look over the net and see the confident, commanding presence of Aussie heartthrob and number three seed Patrick Rafter. Whatever the result, it may be time to ask, what's gone wrong in Czech tennis?

At least the football team is good, and one young member of the Czech Republic's team could be in line for a dream transfer to the English Premier League. The Bank Ostrava striker Milan Baros is apparently the target of Liverpool Football Club - already home to Czech stars Patrick Berger and Vladimir Smicer. "I was informed of Liverpool's interest by my agent, Pavel Paska," said the 19-year-old. "and of course I am very flattered."

Any Baros move to England, though, would be very complicated to orchestrate. British regulations stipulate that to receive a work permit, a non-EU player must have played a minimum of 30 times for his country, as well as having taken part in 75 percent of international matches during the previous year. Having just broken into the Czech Republic team, Baros does not meet these basic criteria.

"I will just train normally with Banik," Baros commented, "and we"ll see what happens."