It's Davis Cup weekend, which means that tennis players around the globewill be getting large checks. In the Netherlands, German team members Michael Stich and Boris Becker will collect their pay of $1.8 million for their handful of sets against the Dutch.
Meanwhile, their countrywoman, Steffi Graf, is considering playing for the German team in Fed Cup April 22-23. What she is not considering is asking for money.
Speaking at last week's Lipton Championships, Graf said the game suffers when money issues become more important than representing a nation in international play. Graf also strongly denied German press reports that her father had negotiated with German tennis officials, seeking a similar deal to Becker's.
"I have been happy that I am playing so far," Graf said. "I never even talked to anybody, nor did my father. I am trying to make my schedule, I need to see what I am going to do the next couple of weeks. I do need a couple of weeks off, and I need to work on my game a bit harder, so I have to choose what I am going to do."
Graf said she was embarrassed about the publicity given to Stich's and Becker's financial deals and said she did not want to be paid for playing in Fed Cup.
"That's not something I care about," Graf said. "I mean, I am playing to play, for my country, and I don't care about money. It has been such a big issue in Germany with Stich and Becker. I think it is terrible the way it has been going so far, and I have no intention of doing something like that."
Andrei Medvedev, known as one of the most colorful players on the tour, had some advice for journalists after his loss to Pete Sampras at the Lipton Championships.
The usually talkative Medvedev grew angry halfway through a news conference and complained that reporters only want to talk to him when he loses and criticized writers for not talking to him when he wins.
"Just come here and say 'congratulations' and leave. Don't ask me questions," he told reporters. "OK, fine. OK? Next time, just do that. If you have respect for me as a tennis player, just come to me. I am in the players' lounge, I sign autograph if you want. But don't come here and ask me questions when I lost. Ask me questions when I win. And then, when I lose a match, I would come in with pleasure. In fact, they brought me here because I didn't want to come. Because I knew I would see more than one or two people in the room and I would feel bad. I don't think that is fair treatment."
This went on for several minutes, with journalists trying to explain that often they are watching other matches when players are brought in for interviews. Medvedev responded that he understood the newspaper business, and that newspaper deadlines were at 3 p.m., so there was no excuse for missing news conferences in the evening or night.
One reporter attempted to soothe Medvedev by saying, "We really do try to come in when we can."
This enraged Medvedev.
"Oh, I am so sorry, " he said, his words dripping with sarcasm. "I know you laugh. I saw all this food you are eating. It is free. Just pick up the Coca-Cola and drink it. Of course, it's nice spending time, but you are here to do your jobs."
Maybe he knows something about the business, after all.
Derrick Rostagno has been away from the ATP Tour for 1 1/2 years, but he did more than rehabilitate an injured elbow.
Rostagno, who played for Stanford before turning pro, enrolled at UCLA to work toward a degree in economics. He also served an internship at Mayor Richard Riordan's office.
The experience has given him a refreshing perspective on school and tennis.
"When I was at college last time, I was playing on the (tennis) team, practicing, traveling, so I couldn't give enough time to academics that I really wanted to give time to," said Rostagno, who has returned to the tour and reached the third round at the Lipton. "This time it was purely academics, and I spent an hour a day rehabbing. I could sleep less because I didn't have to be physically fit. It was really a lot of fun, a different life altogether."
Now that his elbow has healed, Rostagno said he wants to give tennis another chance before he moves on to "real life."
Pepperdine will play host to the women's collegiate championships, May 12-21. Twenty schools will take part in the team event. Current rankings have UCLA at No. 2, Stanford at No. 3, California at No. 8, Pepperdine at No. 11 and USC in a tie for No. 13. . . . Martina Navratilova, retired from singles play on the WTA Tour, has signed to play in World Teamtennis' 15th season. The season runs from July 12 to Aug. 13.