08-01-2001

Maybe - just maybe - the Czech Republic may have found themselves a tennis player capable of one day replacing those much missed stalwarts Petr Korda and Jana Novotna.

Michal Tabara got his ATP season off to the perfect start with victory over Russia's Andrei Stoliarov in the Final of the Indian Open in Madras on Sunday. The 21 year old took 84 minutes to topple Stoliarov 6-2 7-6 and take his first ever ATP tour title. "It's a dream come true for me," said Tabara. "On the junior circuit I have consistently beaten players like Keifer and Haas, who are near the top-ten." Tabara finished 195th in the ATP Champions Race last year.

Bohdan Unihrach couldn't match Tabara's achievement, though, as he fell 6-3 2-6 6-3 to Marcelo Rios in the final of the Qatar Open the same afternoon. Still, one out of two ain't bad as they say, and augers well for the first Grand Slam of new season - the Australian Open - which gets underway next week.

Turning to football and the Sparta Prague 'Wunderkid' Tomas Rosicky was in Germany at the weekend for negotiations with Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. Both clubs are thought to be in intense competition for Rosicky's signature although the 20 year old midfielder has also been linked to a string of European giants.

Sparta would reportedly to prefer to sell Rosicky to Bayern, since the expected $20m transfer fee would go a long way towards appeasing Sparta's Bavarian owners - the publishing house VLP.

Finally, the Czech Republic's former national team goalkeeper, Petr Kouba, has been successful in his bid to be recognized as an EU player. Kouba - who plays for Deportivo La Coruna in Spain - won a Labour Court ruling saying that he is should no longer be considered as a foreign worker. The verdict will immediately enhance Kouba's chances of resurrecting his career, since teams may only field five non-EU players in regular competition.