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Since 1st March, 1999
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Rusedski’s retort to Hewitt

Doha: Greg Rusedski had a sharp riposte for world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt while becoming the latest in a sequence of injury-triggered withdrawals from the one-million dollar Qatar Open on Sunday.

Rusedski has also pulled out of next month’s Australian Open, joining fellow Briton Tim Henman on the sidelines for the first Grand Slam of the season.

Hewitt reckoned it was ‘weird’ for the former world No. 4 to try to play on the ATP Tour in January and yet pull out of the Davis Cup tie against Australia in Sydney in February.

“I think I know my body better than Lleyton,” replied Rusedski. “He hasn’t undergone two foot surgeries. When you haven’t got the gist of the whole story it’s pretty hard to make an assessment. I think I am the best judge of the situation.”

Lehmann in Australia A

Sydney: Darren Lehmann will return from injury to play for Australia A against Sri Lanka in a one-day cricket match on January 7 in Adelaide, the Australian Cricket Board (ACB) said on Monday.

Lehmann, who has been in hospital with a bacterial infection, was named in the Australia A team after being ruled out of the fourth and fifth Ashes Tests. He will not play in Australia A’s first game against Sri Lanka on January 1 in Melbourne.

Schumi best yet again

Paris: German Formula One champion Michael Schumacher was voted ‘champion of champions’ for 2002 by influential French sport daily L'Equipe on Monday. Schumacher, who won his fifth world title last season, emulating Argentine Juan-Manuel Fangio, had also been crowned by L’Equipe last year.

Alpine skier Janica Kostelic was second and Brazil’s World Cup-winning defender Roberto Carlos third in the poll by a jury of the newspaper’s journalists.

‘Grand-dad’ yet to call it quits

Madrid: ‘Granddad’ is the predictable nickname given by his Deportivo La Coruna teammates to Brazilian-born central defender Donato Gama da Silva who celebrates his 40th birthday on Monday.

But despite the fact that he is the oldest player in the history of the Spanish first division, Donato has made it clear that he has no intention of exchanging his football boots for a pair of slippers just yet.

“Yes I’m proud to be the oldest player and I plan to keep on going,” he told Spanish daily El Mundo in a recent interview.

It is difficult to say how long I have left but when the coach loses confidence in me, if I stop enjoying it or if I get tired then I will give up. But that hasn't happened yet.”

Gaspart plea

Barcelona: Barcelona president Joan Gaspart has made a plea for unity in a conciliatory message directed at critics of his management of the Catalan club.

“I accept all the criticisms that have been made,” Gaspart told the club’s official website on Monday. “But the most important thing now is for everyone involved with the club to work together to get out of our present difficulties.”

n Cricket: New Zealand vs India, 3rd ODI live from 6.30am (Wednesday) on ESPN n Soccer: Premier League, Newcastle United vs Tottenham Hotspur highlights from 12noon on STAR Sports n Motorsport: Go Kart Formule Mondiale championship 2002 from 3pm on STAR Sportsn Mary Pierce of France returns a volley during the women’s doubles match at the ASB Classic in Auckland Monday. Pierce, playing with partner Paola Suarez of Argentina against Eleni Danilidou of Greece and Patricia Wartusch Austria, won in straight sets 6-3, 6-3. (AFP)

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