Energy-sapper

Grunting has added a new dimension to tennis, especially when women players are involved. This was very much in evidence in the match between Venus Williams and Maria Sharapova at Wimbledon. Intending it as a psychological weapon to intimidate the opponent, both the players raised the decibel level of their grunt as the match progressed, leaving them with weary legs and haggard faces by the end of the second set itself! Little did they realise that this energy-sapping exercise was taking a heavy toll of their stamina and depriving the onlookers of the pleasure of enjoying the game without this noise-polluting irritant.

It is high time tennis administrators, coaches, trainers and medical experts addressed this problem and impressed upon the players the need for conservation of energy and creation of a conducive atmosphere for the enjoyment of the game by all.

K. P. Ramesh Bhose, Kannur, Kerala Announce teams after toss

The new rule to replace a player at any time in one-day cricket is good in parts, as there is an element of luck in choosing a player.

In order to take advantage of this rule, usually a team will replace a good batsman or a specialist bowler after making full use of his services. Now, let us suppose that a team is announced with a player who is good in batting only (to be replaced later). But if the captain gets to field first, the choice of that player becomes useless. However, if the captain gets batting first, he can use the batsman and then replace him with the player who is good in bowling while fielding, and vice-versa.

In such cases, luck plays a part and it might well decide the outcome of the match! So, I request the ICC to see that both the teams get equal opportunities. My solution to this problem would be to announce the teams after the toss.

Ishwar C. Araballi, Bangalore Not fair to Mumbai

Mumbai has a glittering record in domestic cricket. Bombay, now Mumbai, has won the Ranji Trophy 36 times since its inception in 1936. From 1958 to 1972 Bombay was the Ranji Trophy holder for 15 successive years. Mumbai narrowly missed a hat-trick of Ranji Championships this season when it lost to Punjab in the semi-finals. But a sad fact is that there are not many Mumbai cricketers in the Indian team. Sachin Tendulkar is a shining jewel all right, but not many Mumbai cricketers have given him company for any length of time in the Indian team. From the 60s to the 80s a lot of Mumbai players figured in the Indian squad. The ratio decreased by the 90s with the selectors not willing to give Mumbai players a long run in the national team. In the present Indian team only Ajit Agarkar gets a chance to play occasionally. Even in the list of 36 probables for the training camp, only two Mumbai players have figured! What a pathetic state of affairs!

Sunil Nambiar, Mumbai Way off the mark

If it was just a line or a paragraph that had gone off the track, it's okay. But the title — `A hungry continent gets ready to settle an old score' — and the topic itself were off the mark.

N. U. Abilash says that neither Argentina nor Brazil (of the South American Continent had won the Football World Cup in an European venue and that each wanted to be the `first' to break the jinx! (Ref. Para 6 of the article in page 71 of The Sportstar issue dated July 9, 2005). The fact is that Brazil is the only country in the world to win the cup outside its own continent. It did so in Sweden in 1958 (in Europe)

Brazil did it again in Korea/Japan in 2002 (in Asia). In fact the topic should read the other way around. It is for the European countries to get themselves geared up and try to win the cup in continents other than theirs.

A. Napoleon, Tiruchi Golden Bear, golden sunset

With so much of attention (quite justifiably) being riveted on the curtains coming down on a glorious chapter of Golfing history - the Golden Bear Jack Nicklaus' retirement after the British Open - one's mind goes back to his swansong in the 1986 Masters, when he donned the `Green Jacket' for the last time.

As classic as the come-from-behind victory of the peerless master in 1986, was Nirmal Shekar's wrap-up of that fairy-tale story. Re-publishing of that article - rich in creativity - in your esteemed magazine (all conditions permitting of course!) at this emotive moment for most of us would be perhaps an apt way of praying tribute to the Golden Bear as he is walking into the golden sunset.

Suresh Manoharan, Hyderabad