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Friday , August 31st

From AFP: "Match-fixing, some of which is linked to internet gambling, is not uncommon in professional tennis, according to a damaging report in L'Equipe today. Two elite players made the claims, under anonymity, in an interview with the French sports daily claiming they have witnessed matches being "thrown" and that they had personally been offered bribes. The allegations come in the wake of the controversy surrounding Russia's Nikolay Davydenko, who is the subject of an ATP enquiry.

The unnamed sources in L'Equipe's report called on the sport's authorities to act, "before things get out of hand." "I know several players who have been approached, and who had the exact same experience as me," said one player, identified only as Mister B and who claimed he had been approached physically by someone offering him 50,000 dollars to lose a match. He added: "Not for one second did I believe it was a joke. 50,000 dollars is more than what I would have got for getting to the semi-final in this tournament, and it was tax-free cash. I refused his offer straight away, but I was left wondering what direction we're going in." The other player, identified as Mister A, said the availability of internet terminals in the players lounges has given rise to tennis coaches gambling on matches. "If you look on the internet terminals in the players' lounges you will see that the gambling sites are very popular. I think that about 60-80% of coaches are betting," said Mister A. "I personally know a lot of guys who are internet betting."

Look for news Friday as the ATP has called a press conference at the US Open to make an announcement.

Martina Hingis on her new blacked-out demo racquet she is using at the US Open: "Well, you know, you feel great, everything is going well, everything works. Then, you know, sometimes -- I don't know. You have to have the feeling that you try to have the best materials. Sometimes it's definitely also in the head, you know, what works."

Jonas Bjorkman on the upcoming Davis Cup semifinal against the U.S. in Sweden: "I think it's going to be a great week, no doubt about that. We have a great venue. Hopefully the Swedes finally appreciate that we are in a semifinal. They want to win. If we don't win, we suck (smiling)."

From X-Discussion board member grendel: "He's a very interesting fellow, [Richard] Gasquet, as well as a wonderful tennis player. But he's also the sort of chap I can imagine having a headache who then convinces himself he has a brain tumour."

PNC Bank will sponsor Pam Shriver's annual charity tennis tournament in Baltimore on Oct. 9, featuring Andy Roddick and the Bryan brothers.

Scouting Reports for Federer v Isner US Open Match-up

American fans are gearing up for big-serving rookie sensation John Isner against world No. 1 Roger Federer on Saturday at the US Open. Turns out a good number of players are also looking forward to seeing how the almost-untouchable Isner serve stacks up against the almost-untouchable all-around game of the Swiss.

Does Britain's Andy Murray think the match deserves the hype?

"Definitely, yes," Murray said. "I think it's going to be a great match. The guy -- him and Karlovic definitely have the best two serves in the game. I'd probably say Isner is better from the baseline, returns better than Karlovic. Federer's played Karlovic three times and only broken him once. If Isner returns better and Federer isn't on his game, then, yeah, it will definitely be an interesting match. Definitely Federer is clearly the favorite, but you never know. In Slams, if maybe Federer gets nervous, I don't know. He hasn't in the past. But it's a tough match against an American. You never know. If he plays like he has been the last few months, then I'd probably say Federer will come through."

Andy Roddick offered up his scouting report on the match.

"Isner's going to be very tall and Roger's going to be very good," Roddick summed up. "You know, it's going to be interesting. I think if John can get -- try to get to some breakers, you know, at least hold his serve, then who knows. John probably has a game that can make Roger a little bit more uncomfortable than most people just because -- you can go game sometimes without hitting a ball. That being said, Roger's done well against big servers, myself included. It will be interesting to watch. I think Roger's going to definitely try to get that early break in the first set, just kind of get out in front. I think that's going to be a key."

Click here for the full, raw, unedited, uncut version of Tennis-X.

Also, for the ultimate tennis aficionado is the official web site of the incurable tennis addict, writer, historian Steve Flink - who has been covering the game since 1965.


"I would so like to be Lenny Kravitz."
-- Roger Federer.

"I'm not a fan of it. I hate it, but I may as well utilize it. I think it takes away from the integrity of tennis."
-- Serena Williams on the WTA Tour's on-court coaching experiment.

"Sometimes, actually, I see myself a little bit in him sometimes, you know, talking to his coach, you know, yelling a couple of negative words towards the box, which it's good to see I'm not the only one."
-- Tommy Haas on rising star Andy Murray.

"You would have to refer to the LL Cool J song called "Round The Way Girl," and he explains it in full detail, the meaning of the earrings. These are bamboo. He explains it in full detail. I'm a 'Round The Way Girl."
-- Serena Williams on her earring worn in Miami.

"I would honestly rather lose to the same guy twice than lose to two different guys. I think if I lost to two different players I would think I wasn't playing well, but with one guy I can think 'OK, this guy is on a roll'. It's just easier to digest."
Roger Federer on his losses to Guillermo Canas this year at Indian Wells and Miami.

"For me it's something that doesn't quite fit into the schedule. It's going to be real tough to go from Houston all the way over to Monte Carlo, then come back just for a week or two to train for Rome. For the Americans, that tournament has never been exactly the easiest one in the schedule. I'm not going to be able to make it to that one."
-- James Blake on skipping the Masters Series Monte Carlo.

I wore that to a sixth-grade dance."
-- Robby Ginepri on Vince Spadea's outfit in Miami.

"I hope guys don't go into it already beaten. That happened when Pete was around. Guys definitely in the locker room felt like, a match against Pete Sampras, it was time to book your flight for the next day."
-- James Blake on the intimidation factor against players facing Roger Federer.

"The good thing about him is that he doesn't do anything special but he wins most of his matches easily. That means that he's good.
-- Carlos Moya on Andy Murray.

"I can't say I don't like acting, but I can't imagine a career when I have to spend 70 percent of my time in a trailer eating Snickers bars."
-- Maria Sharapova on possible doing some acting.

"It's like a book. It's the first chapter. You don't know what's in the middle and you don't know what's in the end. That's what the coolest thing is. Andy has an opportunity to make an incredible book."
-- Brad Gilbert on coaching Andy Murray after coming off best-selling novels Andre Agassi and Andy Roddick.

"The Argentineans practice on the court for two hours a day, then they must practice in front of a mirror for two more hour saying 'I'm not guilty.'"
-- Vince Spadea on the Argentines on the men's tour and drug testing.

"A great coach can lead you to a place where you don't need him any more."
-- Andre Agassi on Brad Gilbert. But maybe you repay him by keeping him on?