Sports News

By Nick Carey

Time for the sports roundup now, and there has been a fair amount of good news for the Czechs in the international arena over the past few days.

Tennis first, and after a spate of disappointing results in international tournaments, the Brazil Open saw Jan Vacek, unseeded and a definite wild card for the tournament, take his first ATP title. Vacek faced local boy Fernando Meligeni in the final, having defeated three other Brazilians on the way, making him somewhat unpopular with the home crowd. Fifth seed Meligeni easily took the first set, 6-2, but then Vacek fought back to take the second 7-6. In the final set Meligeni looked set to dominate again, but collapsed with cramp. After treatment he played on, but Vacek broke his serve and took the last set 6-3. So, with the final score 2-6, 7-6, 6-3, Jan Vacek has plenty to celebrate, his first ATP title and winnings of 400,000 US dollars.

While Vacek's win is good news, the world of Czech tennis is mourning the passing of former Wimbledon and French Open champion, and Olympic ice hockey silver medalist, Jaroslav Drobny, who died at his home in London on Thursday, aged 79. Drobny won the French Open in 1951 and 1952, and Wimbledon in 1954.

Formula 1 racing now, and the Czech press is full of praise for Tomas Enge, the first ever Czech driver to compete in a Formula 1 race. Enge was selected by Alain Prost's team to replace Brazilian Luciano Burti, who is recovering from a massive crash in the Belgium Grand Prix two weeks ago, in the Italian Grand Prix in Monza on Saturday. Enge acquitted himself well in the race, not only completing the entire course, but coming in twelfth, which is an admirable first start. Tomas Enge reported no problems during the race, and thanked the Prost team for making his Formula 1 debut possible. "All this was new to me," Enge told journalists after the race, "but I managed to complete this Grand Prix without making any mistakes."

Football now, and first a look at the results of the Czech first division matches played on Sunday:

Sparta Prague 2 - Viktoria Zizkov 0

Teplice 4 - Hradec Kralove 3

Synot Stare Mesto 0 - Jablonec 0

Liberec 3 - Olomouc 3

Opava 1 - Pribram 2

Blsany 1 - Drnovice 3

Following its 2:0 defeat over Vitkoria Zizkov, Sparta Prague is now at the top of the table with 15 points after 7 games played. Long way to go yet, but as Sparta has won the league title every year but one since the founding of the Czech Republic in 1993, quite a few people will be putting their money on yet another title.

And finally, Czech national team defender Tomas Repka, who has just been transferred from Italian side Fiorentina to English premiere division team West Ham United for a fee of some 8 million US dollars, had a rather dismal debut for the team at the weekend. West Ham was beaten 2:0 by Middlesborough and to add insult to injury, Repka was sent off for a foul. Not a very auspicious start, to say the least.