Sports News

By Nick Carey

Yes, indeed, time for the sports roundup now, and we'll start with tennis, and the closing few days of play at Wimbledon. The tournament has not been good news for Czech players - all of the men's and women's singles tournament players were knocked out in the first and second rounds. Things seemed to be going better in the men's doubles, as Jiri Novak and David Rikl eased past brothers Bob and Mike Bryan of the US, 6-4, 7-6, 4-6, 6-1 in the semi-finals, to face another American duo, Donald Johnson and Jared Palmer in the final. But Novak and Rikl's luck ran out there, as they were defeated 6-4 ,4-6, 6-3, 7-6.

The only hope for the Czechs now lies in the mixed doubles, as Leos Friedl and Slovak partner Daniela Hantuchova defeated another Czech-Slovak pair, David Rikl and Karina Habsudova, 6-2, 5-7, 6-3, to go through to the final against American Mike Bryan and Liezel Huber of South Africa. Fingers crossed then, for at least a little bit of glory after a fairly poor tournament for the Czechs.

Over to the world of football now, and the biggest news of the past few days has been the transfer of Lazio midfielder, and Czech national team captain Pavel Nedved, to rival Serie A side Juventus, for a fee said to total some 40 million US dollars. Rumours have abounded for some time that Lazio would sell Nedved, and in an interview given at the weekend, Nedved is quoted saying that he is sad to be leaving Lazio. "I wanted to play at Lazio until the end of my career, but I no longer felt I could trust the club. They simply wanted to sell me," said Nedved. Lazio fans are furious over the decision. Nedved, who is 28, is widely considered to be the best left-midfielder in Serie A.

Staying with football, and the Intertoto Cup is well underway. With three places in the first round of the UEFA Cup up for grabs, there are two Czech teams through to the third round. In the second round, Synot Stare Mesto followed up their 3-2 home win against Romanian side Universitatea Craiova with a 2-2 away draw, winning 5-4 on aggregate. They go through to face French side Stade Rennes. Blsany, the other Czech team in the Intertoto Cup, earned an automatic place in the third round because of their placing in the Czech Cup, and are due to face the Macedonian side Pobeda Prilep.

Athletics now, and three-time Olympic javelin champion Jan Zelezny added another medal to his collection last week at the Lausanne Grand Prix, with a throw of 89.84 metres, just 16 cm short of the magic 90-metre mark that Zelezny likes to aim for.

And finally, some hockey news. Czech centre Jiri Dopita has signed a one-year contract, with a one-year option, with NHL team Philadelphia Flyers. Details of the deal have not been disclosed, but Dopita, who has been part of the Czech national team that has won three consecutive world championships and the gold medal at the Nagano Winter Olympics in 1998, and is expected to be a major boost for the team when it defends the gold at next year's Olympics in Salt Lake City, said the conditions were excellent. Dopita had 27 goals and 44 assists last season for HC Vsetin in the Czech league.