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Is Graf’s Back Part Of Her Future?

Pam Shriver has had so much trouble with her shoulder she’s become something of an expert on injuries. So, it could be bad news for Steffi Graf when the American says the German’s back injury could finish her career.

“I believe her back will be bad for the rest of her career,” said Shriver, who turned 33 Tuesday and is making her 16th appearance at Wimbledon.

“She must try to keep it contained and keep it from getting worse. But that’s easier said than done and I’m sure it is on her mind all the time.

“I would not be surprised if at any time she said ‘Hey, I have battled through this pain as long as I can and it’s time to let it go,”’ said Shriver, who needed surgery in 1990 to repair a loose and unstable shoulder.

Graf, a 26-year-old five-time Wimbledon champion, has defied her back trouble to make it to the fourth round. She over-powered Dutch player Kristie Boogert 6-1, 6-0 Saturday.

“Naturally, I can’t answer for her,” Shriver said. “But I think this year is the year to say, ‘Is it going to get worse or is it going to stay as it is?”’

Stick to tennis, Pete

Pete Sampras admits he hits the ball like John Daly. The golf ball, that is.

The defending Wimbledon champion says he’s an enthusiastic golfer when he’s away from the tennis court. Renowned for his big serves, he admits some of it rubs off on the golf course.

“I like to give the ball a real belt like Daly,” he said. “I swing all out and I guess I can hit it 300 yards at times.

“Mind you, Daly has a lot more control than me. My long drives often finish in the trees.”

Daly probably wouldn’t agree, but Sampras believes golf isn’t as tough as tennis.

“Golf should be easy,” he said. “After all, the ball never moves and you try to produce the same swing all the time.”

Nike does it again

Emulating the Andre Agassi pirate look is easier these days.

That’s because Agassi’s sponsor, Nike, has put out a purely promotional kit called the “AKA The official Also Known As Agassi look-alike kit.”

The kit provides Agassi clones with one black swoosh bandana, a paste-on goatee and sideburns and two hoop earrings.

“Everybody loves Andre and would like to experience what it’s like to be Andre,” said Jason Cohn, the Nike marketing person who developed the gimmicky idea. “It’s a lot of fun. We’re just giving it out here at Wimbledon as a promotional item.”

Scribes’ eyewitness

What American columnists and sportswriters had wrote about American Jeff Tarango’s tirade:

“The pip-pipping chaps in the smoking room at the All England Club must have choked on their whiskeys over this one.

“They’d been through the John McEnroe years, but this little tirade went well beyond the worst excesses Johnny Mac ever visited on the poor schlubs who have had the misfortune to call one of his matches.”

Charles Bricker, Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel

“Wimboredom? Not Saturday. Not in the wildest day in the Championships’ 109 years. Or all of tennis history, for that matter.

“A player told a Court 13 crowd to shut up, called the chair umpire ‘the most corrupt official in the game’ and walked off in default. His wife then slapped the ump, and the player accused the official of fixing matches to help friends.

“Wimboredom? That’s what they called last year’s tournament.

“Then, Saturday, along came Jeff Tarango, a 26-year-old Stanford graduate who lists his interest as philosophy. Whose philosophy? Nietzsche’s?”

Edwin Pope, Miami Herald

“… The Tarangos became instant history on a previously quiet first Saturday at these hallowed grounds. Never before has a husband walked out of his third-round singles match, alleging a feud with the umpire, leaving behind his wife, a non-player who did her very best to slap the man in the chair, Bruno Rebeuh.

“‘This guy deserves a lesson,’ said Benedicte Tarango.

“‘I’m glad you did that,’ said her husband, approvingly.

“Later, he explained his wife’s behavior thusly: ‘Women are emotional.’

Tarango, of course, is not emotional. He merely dropped his shorts while losing to Michael Chang in Tokyo a year ago, and Saturday he chose to quit his match with Alexander Mronz because he felt he had been unfairly penalized by the chair official.”

George Vecsey, New York Times

“Yes, this really happened at Wimbledon, the day tennis turned into Wrestlemania X.

“They’re staging Wimbledon for the 109th time, and before Saturday, nobody had ever just up and quit in anger during the middle of a match.

“John McEnroe didn’t do it. Neither did Jimmy Connors.”

Bill Glauber, Baltimore Sun