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Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
9:48 PM Tue, Sept. 25th

Federer, Sharapova and Woodbridge; World Team Tennis

I was ready to flip on Wimbledon this morning around 6 a.m. and remembered that it's now over. It was nice having different matches to watch each day.

What can you say about the men's final except that it was a great contest of athletic skills.

Roger Federer is about as close to perfect on grass as you'll find since Pete Sampras has retired. And that's not downplaying how well Andy Roddick performed by any means.

Roddick would like to consider this a rivalry, but first he has to win a couple matches from Federer.

The finals could have gone either way with a couple points going to Roddick, but right now the better player prevailed and for the second time in a row 4-6, 7-5, 7-6(3), 6-4.

Serena couldn't have said it any better: "There are like 50 players from Russia in the top 10." But the one that had her number is a mature 17-year-old by the name of Maria Sharapova. Maria did a job on the No. 1 seed and former two-time winner at Wimbledon 6-1, 6-4.

It seems that the countries that are having lots of success with up-and-coming juniors have most all of them in groups. These groups/clusters of youngsters push each other to higher and higher levels practicing with each other daily. Russia has that going on right now.

Todd Woodbridge earned a record ninth Wimbledon doubles title, teaming with Jonas Bjorkman for a 6-1, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 win over Julian Knowle and Nenod Zimonjici. Todd and Jonas were the No. 1 seeds and defending champions.

The record Woodbridge broke dated back to 1905 when the Doderty brothers held eight doubles Wimbledon titles together.

Cara Black couldn't be more happy with taking two Wimbledon championship trophies back to Zimbabwe with her. She paired with Rennae Stubbs to defeat Liezel Huber and Ai Sugiyma 6-3, 7-6(5) to take the women's doubles title, and then turned around with her brother Wayne and won the mixed final 4-6, 7-6(8), 6-4.

Navratilova didn't win the extra title that would have given her a new record and she is now presumed retiring from tennis after the U.S. Open (again). But what a ride for the 47-year-old.

I'm curious what Andre Agassi is thinking after taking some time off with a hip injury and many early round losses lately. Hopefully he's refueled and ready to do battle leading up to the U.S. Open.

"World Team Tennis is Alive and Well"

The format is fun, the crowd can be loud, and many of the players are well known. It's called "World Team Tennis." Unfortunately there is no team representing the Southwest currently; the closest team is from California, the Newport Beach Breakers.

There are two six-team divisions, an eastern and western conference, and they play in stadiums that are great for tennis fans to feel almost a part of each match. No nose-bleed sections.

Players like Agassi, Seles, Navratilova, Rafter, The Bryan Brothers, Mardy Fish, Anna Kournikova, Andy Roddick – and the price for tickets is reasonable.

If you get a chance to make a match, do it, beginning July 5 through July 25. The finals for the coveted King Trophy will be held Aug. 27-28 at the USTA National Tennis Center.

Click on www.worldteamtennis.com for more match times and general information.

"Fourth of July Parade Tennis Entry"

A big thanks to Flo Reynolds, Twyla Sizemore, Norma Justice, Tom Winker and the 8-Tracks, York Motors (for use of their truck), and everyone else who participated and helped make our entry into the Fourth of July Parade a rousing success.

About 30 local tennis players representing our dear sport from various subdivisions, schools and parks and rec settings came out to show how diversified tennis is in the Prescott area.

They saved tennis balls for about six months and had five shopping carts full to hand out, only to find themselves mobbed along the route. Their efforts only held out from Murphy's to the courthouse square, so guess that means they'd better start right now for next year.

Good job and let it be known that tennis is strong and alive here is Everyone's Home Town!

•Senior Olympics is coming up soon in Prescott. Get your sport packets at The Armory on Gurley Street ASAP.

(Chris Howard is a local UPSTA Tennis Professional with over 30 years in the racquet and fitness industry. He can be reached at 445-1331 or 4541choward@earthlink.net)