According to Mark Philippoussis, one tennis match at the U.S. Open transformed him from a boy into a man. He saved three match points against Thomas Johansson of Sweden in the quarterfinals, and the new, mature Philippoussis moved on, eventually losing to Patrick Rafter in an all-Australian final.
To reach that point, he had lost weight, working under the guidance of fitness guru and coach Gavin Hopper.
"I was eating the late pizzas, the Cokes, the ice creams," he said. "Now I live in America. Thank God for TCBY, the fat-free ice cream. I pretty much live on that stuff. It's great.
"Honestly, I eat TCBY for pretty much lunch and dinner. I'm not joking. I get these big tubs. They're fat free, sugar free. I get the nuts and the big spoon in front of the TV. That's great for me."
The jury is still out on the total transformation into maturity. Aussie journalists noticed a big gold ring on his finger and asked Philippoussis about it.
"Definitely not married," he said. "I've got a life to lead. I went to the Greek Islands, there was a really nice jewelry shop. I had it made for me. It is really nice, and I thought maybe I will pick up more chicks if they think I am married."
Trivia time: Which Pacific 10 Conference team was unbeaten heading into the 1949, 1950 and 1951 Rose Bowl games and lost all three?
Red card: It was bad enough for Spanish soccer fans when the national team lost early in the World Cup this summer. But a 3-2 loss to a bunch of part-time players from Cyprus this month sent the media and political pundits off the deep end.
"It is intolerable that after the fiasco of the World Cup we should now return to the ridiculous," said Sport, a Barcelona newspaper.
Coach Javier Clemente responded to criticism from the country's politicians, saying: "There are about 15 to 20 issues more important to the future of the nation than soccer. To worry about No. 20 and ignore the others is ridiculous. I will soon be providing the minister or president with advice on action to take on the important issues."
Then he received that all-important vote of confidence from the soccer federation. The vote of confidence is no different in Spain than it is in the United States--days later he was gone as coach.
Boys to Men: Linda Raymond did not have a lot of choices in Moses Lake, Wash., when she was trying to buy clothes for her two youngsters, Reed and Ryan.
A hint: Reed is 6 feet 8 and 301 pounds, and Ryan is 6-7, 306.
Linda calls one store in Moses Lake twice a year, ordering 12 pairs of oversized jeans. And for their first suits, she found a New York company that specializes in large sizes--size-64 suit jackets, with 42-inch sleeves for the kids.
The kids are sophomore linemen at Washington State.
Raymond did not know she was carrying twins until she was in the delivery room. "You can't print what I told the doctor," she said.
Trivia answer: California.
And finally: Promoter Bob Arum, in the Dallas Morning News: "Boxing would be dead without Mexican fighters and fans. In cities without large Mexican populations and Mexican-American populations, the sport is already dead."