Women's tour agrees on teen-age restrictive measure U.S. OPEN

September 09, 1994|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,Sun Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- The Women's Tennis Council has agreed in principle to the major recommendations of the Age Eligibility Commission that would prevent young players from competing in a full, unrestricted professional tour until age 18 and prevent any participation on the WTA Tour and at championship events until age 16.

"Until a kid is 16, she's not going to be in the big time," said Baltimore's Elise Burgin, who with Pam Shriver represents the tour players on the council. "The show will go on without them."

Included in the new rules package will be mandatory education, orientation, counseling and annual medical exams for players; a mandatory parental orientation course, and coach and agent registration.

Shriver, the former WTA Tour president, asked for the age commission study at the U.S. Open last year. The full report was presented yesterday morning. Last night, the Council announced its intention to implement the new rules Jan. 1.

"It's a program that will protect a generation," said Shriver, who made it to the U.S. Open final as a 16-year-old amateur. "This is going to help players we've never heard of."

Because the rules affect players from the age of 14 through 17, junior players such as Martina Hingis, who turns 14 in two weeks and already had planned to turn pro next season, will be grandfathered into the system under the old rules.

That decision apparently was made to avoid immediate lawsuits.

Novacek a semifinalist

It took five sets, but Karel Novacek claimed a berth in tomorrow's semifinals.

"I belong out there," Novacek said after beating Jaime Yzaga, 6-2, 6-7 (7-9), 6-1, 5-7, 6-3, when asked if he belongs with stars such as Michael Stich and Andre Agassi. "I was one of them once. I was No. 8 in the world in 1991. I was beating them and I was maybe not winning any Grand Slam tournaments, but I was the one who could scare them.

"And now I am semifinal of Grand Slam for first time and I am very happy."

Tomorrow he will face the winner of last night's last quarterfinal between fourth-seeded Stich of Germany and unseeded Jonas Bjorkman of Sweden.

Yzaga, who upset No. 1 seed Pete Sampras in five sets Tuesday and before that needed five sets to oust last year's runner-up, Cedric Pioline, admitted to being worn out.

"It was hard," he said. "My reactions were just a little slow, my legs really tired. He played well and had more left at the end than me."

Ranked No. 56, Novacek is inspired.

"What I have achieved here so far is already the top for me," he said. "But I don't think it is the end. The tournament is not over for me."

Mixed champions

Top-seeded Jana Novotna and Todd Woodbridge were upset in the mixed doubles final yesterday by No. 8-seeded Elna Reinach and Patrick Galbraith, 6-2, 6-4.

Grand Slam remembered

Rod Laver, the last man to win a Grand Slam by winning Wimbledon and the Australian, French and U.S. opens in the same year, stopped by yesterday to reminisce about his 25-year-old accomplishment and make suggestions on how to improve the sport.

He enjoyed watching some footage of the U.S. Open championship match against Tony Roche on a court that was then grass -- and churned-up muddy grass at that.

And he lamented the passing of the game as he knew it.

"Because of the speed of the ball coming off the racket, you can put so much excess spin on the ball, if you're just trying to return it, it doesn't allow you to put much angle into the shot," he said. "And there is no real chance to set up a point anymore, not with the heavy ground strokes these guys hit."

Laver suggested a way to combat the big serve in men's tennis is to allow just three second serves in each game.

"I just think it would stop the big serve from continuing," Laver said. "If you're playing a match and your first serve is not working too well, you better slow it down pretty quick, because you're going to run out of second serves in that game."

On boring tennis players, Laver laughed that he, John Newcombe and Fred Stolle all were called boring in their time.

"I think you grow into fame," he said. "After that match Pete Sampras played the other day, people are going to look at him differently. He's not just the guy who serves 134 mph anymore."

MEN

Singles, quarterfinals

Karel Novacek, Czech Republic, def. Jaime Yzaga, Peru, 6-2, 6-7 @(7-9), 6-1, 5-7, 6-3.

Doubles, semifinals

Jacco Eltingh and Paul Haarhuis, Netherlands (3), def. Wayne Ferreira, South Africa, and Mark Knowles, Bahamas (16), 6-3, 7-5.

WOMEN

Doubles, quarterfinals

Jana Novotna, Czech Republic, and Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, Spain (2), def. Lindsay Davenport, Murrieta, Calif., and Lisa Raymond, Wayne, Pa. (5), 6-2, 6-4.

MIXED DOUBLES

Championship

Elna Reinach, South Africa, and Patrick Galbraith, Tacoma, Wash. (8), def. Jana Novotna, Czech Republic, and Todd Woodbridge, Australia (1), 6-2, 6-4.

TODAY'S FEATURE MATCHES

Stadium Court

Day session

* Men's doubles championship -- Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde, Australia (4), vs. Jacco Eltingh and Paul Haarhuis, Netherlands (3).

* Women's singles semifinals -- Steffi Graf (1), Germany, vs. Jana Novotna (7), Czech Republic. Gabriela Sabatini (8), Argentina, vs. Arantxa Sanchez Vicario (2), Spain.

* Women's doubles semifinal -- Gigi Fernandez, Aspen, Colo., and Natalia Zvereva, Belarus (1), vs. Katerina Maleeva, Bulgaria, and Robin White, Del Mar, Calif.

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