Sports News

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In this edition: Stepanek and Novak knocked-out of Wimbledon 2003; cross-country skier Katerina Neumannova awarded Olympic silver and bronze; footballer Vaclav Sverkos headed for the Bundeslige; and tennis beauty Anna Kournikova steps out in Prague.

Czechs bounced at Wimbledon

Jiri Novak, photo: CTK
On Saturday the Czech Republic's last hopes at this year's Wimbledon were bounced as both Radek Stepanek and Jiri Novak were defeated in the men's singles 3rd round.

Radek Stepanek, photo: CTK
11th seed Novak faced German player Alexander Popp, ranked just 192nd. Yet, the German dominated the match, including his service game, with 30 aces to Novak's 12. The Czech player lost disappointingly in straight sets by a score of 3:6, 4:6, 6:7.

By comparison, fellow Czech Radek Stepanek played a fair match and could have won against Australian Mark Philippoussis in a marathon that went four sets and lasted 3 hours and 34 minutes. Both players lost serve just once with the match hinging on two key tie-breaks in the 2nd and 4th sets. Stepanek, led those tie-breaks 4:0, 4:1 but somehow still managed to lose both - handing Philipoussis the match. The final score: 6:4, 6:7, 4:6, 6:7. Afterwards, Stepanek especially rued the loss when he learned he could have faced stellar Andre Agassi in the quarter finals.

Neumannova awarded bronze and silver Olympic medals

It took 16th months but cross-country skiing star Katerina Neumannova can rejoice after two finishes at the last winter Olympics in Salt Lake City were upgraded to bronze and silver. Originally, Neumannova finished 4th in the 5 km classic/5 km freestyle, and 3rd in the 15 km freestyle. But, because her Russian competitor Larissa Lazutinova, who finished ahead in the standings, was found guilty of 'doping' she was stripped of her medals, edging Neumannova up the results ladder. The 30-year-old Czech skier, who took last season off to become a mother, was happy with the result, if far from surprised:

"The satisfaction came earlier, at the time when the scandal broke. I don't think at this point in time that there was any debate about whether or not the tests were positive. It was clear that they were. It's just that the procedure took a long time. The satisfaction came earlier."

Czech footballer Vaclav Sverkos Germany-bound

Czech first division side Banik Ostrava have agreed to terms with Borussia Moenchengladbach for the transfer of their 19-year-old striker Vaclav Sverkos. Sverkos, who finished as second leading scorer with 14 goals in the Czech first division standings last season, has played for the Czech national under-21 side. He made his Czech first division debut in 2001 after being brought into the team to replace Milan Baros, who left Banik Ostrava for Liverpool.

Other transfers

Other transfers include forward Jan Simak from Leverkusen to Hannover. Meanwhile, rumour has it that that Czech striker Horst Siegl, who played 14 seasons at Sparta Prague and currently plays for Pribram, could be headed for a team in Qatar, along with striker Pavel Kuka. Siegl, however, has denied any knowledge of such a transaction. Horst Siegl leads the table of all-time Czech league scorers, with 115 goals. The Czech league was founded after the split of Czechoslovakia in 1993. Siegl's closest competitor on the table of scorers is Vratislav Lokvenc, with 81 goals.

Kournikova in Prague

One would have thought she would be gracing the green grass of Wimbledon, instead tennis star and Russian beauty Anna Kournikova turned heads in Prague over the weekend. Wearing a white and grey combine the 22-year-old Russian stepped out at Prague's Woodrow Wilson station on Saturday after arriving from Vienna on the fabled Orient Express. The Russian was in Prague for commercial reasons and not interested in discussing tennis. She chided at least one reporter for asking when she would return to the game. The semi-finalist at Wimbledon in 1997 has been missing from the ATP tour since the beginning of April due to injury.