Doubles outrage

BILL HARRIS -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:02 AM ET

Martina Navratilova was so angry, she was seeing doubles.

The 48-year-old Navratilova, who is playing in the doubles draw at the Rogers Cup with partner Anna-Lena Groenefeld, clearly has a vested interest in this topic.

Nonetheless, Navratilova expressed outrage when asked about proposed changes on the men's tennis tour that would eliminate doubles players who don't play singles as well.

"Absolutely wrong for the game overall," Navratilova said.

"Phasing out doubles specialists completely is ridiculous. Some players cannot win on the singles tour but they're great doubles players. I'm not talking about somebody ranked 100th in doubles. They don't draw flies. Fair enough. But the top 30, 40, 50 doubles players, absolutely. They're good for the game.

"Most people in clubs play doubles. They don't play singles. A great majority. And you see that the crowds stay to watch the doubles."

If it's an economic issue -- in other words, the various tournaments are complaining that it's too expensive to bring in and put up doubles-only players -- Navratilova doesn't buy it.

"I'd like to see the books," Navratilova said.

"Let me see how much money you make off the tournament. How much does it really cost you (to have doubles)? Are you losing money? If you're losing money, get out of the business. Don't change the game."

Maybe someday Navratilova will emerge from her shell and speak her mind.

DELAY OVER

The second Rogers Cup semi-final tomorrow, which starts at 6:30 p.m., now will be televised live on Sportsnet. That replaces the plan of broadcasting the match on a half-hour tape-delay.

Tennis Canada scrambled to put together a new menu for TV coverage this weekend due to the labour dispute at CBC.

Fans who have tickets to the first semi-final at the Rexall Centre tomorrow are reminded that the start time has been moved ahead one hour, to noon, to accommodate live TV coverage on TSN.

The Rogers Cup final will be shown live on CTV on Sunday, beginning at 2 p.m.


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