Federer's great show

One can't but feel sorry for Andy Roddick after his semifinal drubbing by Roger Federer in the Australian Open. The hours spent in the practice court under the watchful eyes of `Jimbo' Connors, the confidence-boosting triumph over Federer in an `exhibition event' just before the Australian Open and the gut-wrenching victories over Safin and Ancic, all seemed to be a perfect tune-up before taking on the Master in the semifinals. But Roddick's best-laid plans came unstuck against the genius.

Playing as though the racquet was a natural extension of his right arm, Federer simply dismantled the `jumbo' efforts of `Jimbo' in preparing his ward for the `Big Fight'.

Those who saw that semifinal contest were simply fortunate to see tennis morphing into a symphony show.

Suresh Manoharan, Hyderabad India has a chance

Thanks for the World Cup Special (Sportstar, January 27). It is really unfortunate that a premier cricket team like England has not been able to win the World Cup so far. It may be a distant dream for the team even in the Caribbean Islands this year.

Of course, after the first three editions of the World Cup, it has been Australia which has performed consistently well. However, the present Australian team can be beaten in the West Indies. I think even India has a fair chance of lifting the World Cup this year. The only problem with our team is its fielding and catching. If we can manage to succeed in that department, I am sure we can upset the applecart of Australia.

N. Mahadevan, Chennai Disheartening performance

S. Dinakar's analysis of the Indian team's tour of South Africa, `Opportunity Lost' (Sportstar, January 20) was interesting. In recent years the Indian batsmen are not showing the right application against the left-arm spinners. When England toured India in 2001-02, Nasser Hussain set a leg-side field for Ashley Giles. And even our maestro Sachin Tendulkar could not face up to Giles and was stumped for the first time in his Test career.

Last year, our batsmen had some problems against the debutant left-arm spinner Monty Panesar. And in South Africa, it was Paul Harris who troubled the Indian batsmen. It is very disheartening to see our players, known to play spin extremely well, performing poorly against the likes of Harris.

Premkumar Kani, Chennai Hungry for wickets

Your Cover Story, `Shaun's Hour of Glory' (Sportstar, January 16) was absorbing. Pollock is really a dangerous batsman. He is also an outstanding bowler and a nightmare of many a batsman. He is hungry for wickets. He is a man with skill and a big heart. I wish to congratulate Pollock on getting past 400 Test wickets.

M. Rathish Nair, Indore