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Britons to work for wild cards

Wimbledon: Making it into the Wimbledon draw just got harder for British players on Wednesday. Traditionally most of the eight men’s and women’s wild cards are handed to British players, many of whom wouldn’t normally make the field. This year, they’ll have to earn it.

“The LTA gets criticised for just giving it away, but we want to get away from that,” Lawn Tennis Association performance director David Felgate said on Wednesday.

The LTA said the four “most deserving” male players ranked inside the world’s top 350 would get a wild card. Two more would be decided by an eight-man play off made up of the next six highest-ranking players, one junior and one other player. The two finalists will earn wild cards.

For the women’s wild cards, four would be chosen by the LTA, with four others playing off for one more wild card.

Hammers’ stand-in named

London: West Ham United have appointed Trevor Brooking as caretaker manager for the last three games of the season, the Premier League club said on Thursday.

One of the club’s all-time great players and still a member of the club’s board, the former England midfielder will take over from Glenn Roeder, who remains stable in hospital after suffering a mini-stroke on Monday.

He has three games — away to Manchester City, home to Chelsea and away to Birmingham City — to save the club from relegation. West Ham are currently four points adrift of Bolton Wanderers and safety.

Bayern China tour in doubt

Berlin: Bayern Munich might cancel a tour of China scheduled for July because of the spread of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) virus there.

“We will follow the situation closely,” a Bayern spokesman said on Thursday. “Cancellation is an option.”

The four-time European champions had planned to go to China from July 12 to 18 to promote the launch of a merchandising campaign and to play friendly matches in Beijing and Shanghai.

Bayern are 11 points clear at the top of the Bundesliga standings and need four points from their five remaining matches to make sure of an 18th German crown.

Alex Zanardi ‘comeback’

New York: Alex Zanardi said on Wednesday he will not confront any demons when he returns to the race track in Germany where he lost both his legs in a crash during a CART race.

“Obviously there will be something going through my mind,” said the Italian who drove for Lotus and Williams in Formula One and took the CART championship in 1997-1998. “But, quite frankly, I feel that psychologically, the accident is definitely behind me,” he said.

Zanardi has been named as grand marshal of the German 500 at the Lausitz Eurospeedway oval on May 11. The CART race will be run at the German track for the first time since Zanardi’s near-fatal crash in 2001.

Zanardi now lives in Monaco with his wife and son. He is involved in projects such as racing and building go-karts for the physically challenged.

Uruguay coach

Montevideo: Uruguay have named Juan Ramon Carrasco as their national coach. The 46-year-old made his name as coach of unfashionable first division Fenix. He replaces Victor Pua who resigned after Uruguay’s first round elimination from the World Cup.

Andretti escape

New York: Mario Andretti escaped injury on Wednesday when his Indy car flipped over at high speed during private test session at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Sport on Screen

Cricket, South Africa in Bangladesh: First Test, Day II, live from 9.25 am on STAR Sports n Soccer: Premier League, from 1.00 pm on ESPN n Soccer: Spanish League, highlights from 5.30 pm on ESPN n General: Sportline, live from 7.30 pm on STAR Sports


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