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Gilbert Prefers Ground

August 25, 2003|Lisa Dillman | Times Staff Writer

NEW YORK — Brad Gilbert made a bet and had to live with it.

Reluctantly, Gilbert left the ground and returned to it, skydiving with Andy Roddick earlier this month after Roddick won the Masters Series event in Montreal.

"I don't think he liked it too much, judging by him keeled over on the side of the road afterward," said Roddick, who is expected to play his first-round match against Tim Henman on Tuesday night. "But he definitely did it."

There is no such bet -- yet -- for the U.S. Open.

"No, I don't know if I can top that one, but maybe I'll think about it," Roddick said.

Roddick has lost only once since Wimbledon, to Henman in the semifinals in Washington. He nearly went out in the final at Cincinnati, fighting off two match points against his close friend Mardy Fish.

The camaraderie between the young Americans apparently has its limits when it comes to skydiving.

"Andy asked me to do it," Fish said. "James [Blake] asked me to do it, because James likes doing it too. I don't like putting my life in jeopardy any more than I have to, so I don't really feel like jumping out of an airplane is that big a deal to me. So I don't think you'll see me do it very often -- if ever."

*

The on-court ceremony to say farewell to last year's champion Pete Sampras, who is announcing his retirement, will be tonight.

The ceremony is expected to be relatively short, about 15 minutes. His family will be on hand, and a handful of other former champions are likely to be involved.

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Lindsay Davenport, who had to quit in the second set of the final against Jennifer Capriati in New Haven, Conn., because of the recurring injured nerve in her toe, did not practice Sunday.

Davenport is scheduled to play Els Callens of Belgium today in the first round.

Her agent, Tony Godsick, said she went straight from the New Haven event to the U.S. Open on Saturday night for treatment, which included a cortisone shot, her third one in the left foot.

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Said Maria Sharapova of Russia, who is making her main-draw debut in the U.S. Open: "I know this is the U.S. Open. It's not like some Tier V in Asia or something. So you know, it's not like I'm here playing with Barbie dolls."

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Wimbledon champion Roger Federer of Switzerland on whether U.S. Open fans are more knowledgeable than fans at the other Slams: "I think the opposite, really. Not to criticize them, but like Wimbledon crowds and Australian crowds, they, to me, it seems they really come for the tennis. Here, the people come more just to enjoy the show."

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