A complete transformation indeed!

consistency over the last couple of months made him the hot favourite to win the title, and much of this transformation from promises to realisation can be attributed to his new coach, Brad Gilbert.

BY SUNIL GAVASKAR

ANDY RODDICK finally won a major tournament and that too the US Open which ensured that the title remained in America. One says finally, for though Roddick is only 21-years-old, the hype about him being the next American hope has been going on ever since he came on the scene a few years back. Roddick's consistency over the last couple of months made him the hot favourite to win the title, and much of this transformation from promises to realisation can be attributed to his new coach, Brad Gilbert.

Andy Roddick serving to Juan Carlos Ferrero during the men's singles final of the US Open. Roddick with this major victory proved that he is the next American hope. — Pic. AP-

It was Gilbert who changed the fortunes of Andre Agassi, who had slumped to well past 100 in the ranking, to the number one position along with the Majors, which he won with Gilbert in his corner. But more than Gilbert, Roddick will have to thank the Australian, David Nalbandian who had him on the ropes but couldn't deliver the knockout punch. To be fair to the Argentinean, there were some horrendous line calls that went against him in the third set and after that the fight seemed to have gone out of him and he succumbed rather meekly, which tells you about his fitness and temperament. Bad line calls are like leg-before decisions in cricket, always up for debate and the moot point is that while in cricket there are now third-country umpires who cannot be accused of home-country bias, in tennis and badminton, there is enough to show that this bias can lead to some bad calls. With the phenomenal progress made in TV technology, it would make great sense to use it for debatable and disputed line calls which lead to confrontations and unpleasant situations.

What TV technology has done is to blow to smithereens the belief that line judges in developed countries do not make errors. They do oh yes, they do and if the intention of those officials from developing countries is questioned, then TV today has shown that the same fingers can be pointed at the officials from the developed world too.

In cricket too, the so called infallible umpires from so-called developed countries have been shown to be as human as the others though whenever umpires from third world countries make mistakes these are highlighted by prefacing the country they belong to before their name. On the other hand, if an umpire from a developed country makes a mistake, it is not always repeated and even if it is then only the name of the umpire and not the country he belongs to is mentioned.

Considering Sachin Tendulkar's love for Formula One and his known acquaintance with Michael Schumacher, it would be a great idea to make Sachin the Ambassador in India's bid for an F-1 race, feels the author. -- Pic. AP-

With the last Grand Slam for the year in tennis over and about three months to go for the year to end it may be a good time to ask why the Majors are restricted to only four and that too only in white dominated countries? Why is there no Major in Asia? Why no Slam in Africa? It is not just in tennis but also in golf where the Majors are restricted. In fact, in golf, three out of the four Major tourneys are in America and even here the last Major takes place in August or early September. So there is enough time left in the year to have one if not two other Majors in either Africa or Asia where the timing also will be right. Why must sport be restricted only to the summer in Europe or America? If lack of infrastructure is the reason then it should be told so that the Asian and African bloc can work towards improving it. Or is there some other reason why the Asian and African countries do not get a major tournament?

Remember all the doubting Thomases when the Indian sub-continent was given the World Cup in 1987. Not only was it a roaring success, the one in 1996 was even better, especially considering the one that followed in 1999 in England, was a disaster as far as facilities to the media and the participants were concerned.

The news that the dynamic Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh had gone recently to the Formula One authorities to try and bring the race to India is most welcome indeed. Hopefully those who are in charge of the Association here will also back him to the hilt. Considering the love that the little champion Sachin Tendulkar has for Formula One and his known acquaintance with the champion Michael Schumacher, it would be a great idea to make him the Ambassador of the bid to bring the race to India. Including him in future delegations provided it does not clash with his cricket would definitely improve India's chances of bringing the race to India.

Not too long ago the Indian sub-continent did not have much of a say in the International Cricket Administration. But the business acumen of Dalmiya and the financial savvy of Ehsan Mani have seen both adorning the ICC President's post, which would have been unthinkable a decade or so back. Yes, Dalmiya was never the blue eyed boy of the Western media but if they keep their prejudices and stereotypes aside they will admit the financial strength that the ICC has today is mainly due to the measures that Dalmiya took.

If Asian or African officials in other sports take a leaf out of Dalmiya's book and press ahead then who knows we may be able to see a major tournament in their sport in Asia and Africa regularly. For far too long we have been led. It is time now for us to lead.