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Sports in Review: Tennis (1998)

December 1998

Parity ruled tennis in 1998, a year when eight players captured grand slam singles titles - four for the first time - and a few stalwarts of the old guard withstood the challenges of feisty young upstarts.

In the end, Pete Sampras secured the men's No. 1 ranking for a record sixth straight year, a feat he can't imagine anyone else matching, and Lindsay Davenport grabbed the women's top spot for the first time.

''I know what it takes,'' Sampras said of his long reign. ''I really don't see anyone in today's game having the consistency, having the durability that it takes to be No. 1 six years. That is the majority of a career. You need the game, you need the heart, you need the mind. Some guys have two of the three. Some guys have a little bit of the three. In order to do it for six years, you need everything.''

''I know what it be no. 1 six years. You need the game, you need the heart, you need the mind"

The competition is so fierce in tennis these days, with anyone in the top 100 capable of beating anyone else, Sampras said, that it would take an extraordinary player to come along and do what he has done.

''Maybe when I'm done playing, or when I'm 56 years old, there might be somebody able to do it,'' he said.

Just before Christmas, the International Tennis Federation failed to suspend Korda after he failed a test for steroids. The ruling body bought the Czech's excuse that he did not know how the banned drugs got into his system at Wimbledon. Korda will forfeit the $94,529 in prize money and 199 points he earned for making the Wimbledon quarterfinals.

By The Associated Press


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