06-01-2003

The Czechs were knocked out in the semi-finals of tennis's Hopman Cup, but not without Jiri Novak taking a major scalp in the form of world number one, Lleyton Hewitt. Martina Navratilova is still going strong, and has just set a new world record. Sparta Prague's Jiri Jarosik has made a big-money transfer to CSKA Moscow football club, and stands to become the biggest star in the Russian league. And the leading Czech women's football player has made a historic move to the United States.

Jiri Novak beats world number one Lleyton Hewitt

Jiri Novak beats world number one Lleyton Hewitt, photo: CTKJiri Novak beats world number one Lleyton Hewitt, photo: CTK After taking the scalp of world number two Andre Agassi last month, the leading Czech men's tennis player Jiri Novak went one better in the semi-finals of the Hopman Cup in Perth last Thursday, with a dramatic win over world number one Lleyton Hewitt. It was Novak's first win over the Australian, and in front of a sell-out home crowd to boot. Despite Novak's impressive 6:2 3:6 6:3 victory, he and Daja Bedanova were knocked out 2:1 overall, when - after being 5:1 up in the first set - Bedanova lost 7:6 7:5 to Alicia Molik, and the Czech pair also lost to Australia in the mixed doubles. World number seven Novak was not so dissatisfied after the contest.

"It went really well for me today, because I beat the world number one, which was a great success for me and I'm very happy about that. At the start we thought Daja would beat Molik and I'd be beaten by Hewitt, but in the end it was the complete opposite."

Novak said the Hopman Cup had been good preparation for the Australian Open, which gets underway in one week's time. You may recall Novak reached the final of that competition last year.

Navratilova makes new world record at 46

Staying with tennis, Martina Navratilova has set a world record by winning a professional women's tournament at the age of 46 years, two months and 17 days. Navratilova made the record books when she and her 17-year-old Russian partner won the doubles at the WTA competition at Gold Coast, Australia on Saturday. It was Navratilova's 167th doubles title. Age is just a number, said the Czech born legend, although I have to admit I'm an extreme case.

Jarosik signs big-money deal with Russia's CSKA Moscow

Jiri Jarosik, photo: CTKJiri Jarosik, photo: CTK Sparta Prague midfielder Jiri Jarosik has ended speculation about his future by signing a lucrative five-year contract with the Russian football club CSKA Moscow, which will see him become one of the best paid Czech sportsmen. Jarosik's agent Viktor Kolar said the Russians were paying between four and five million euros for his client.

"I think the decisive factor was the conditions, which were the best. Their coach Valeri Gazzaev is currently the Russian national coach and Jiri will be the biggest star in the Russian league. Representatives of both clubs still have to reach a final agreement, and then the exact price will be made public, but it's a fact that it's the biggest transfer fee in the history of Russian football."

Top Czech women‘s footballer signs with US club

The leading Czech women‘s football player, Pavlina Scasna, has left Bayern Munich for the US club Philadelphia Charge, and is the first Czech woman to sign with a professional club in America, which is the home of women‘s soccer. Scasna‘s brother plays for Czech club Viktoria Zizkov, who her dad used to manage. In the US she can expect to play in front of crowds many times bigger than for Czech men‘s league games.

Under 20s go out in quarter-finals of Junior World Championships

The Czech Under 20s have - for the second year in a row - gone out of ice hockey‘s Junior World Championships at the quarter-final stage. They were beaten 4:3 by the United States. The Czech Republic won the competition in 2000 and 2001.

06-01-2003