Twenty-year-old Czech tennis star Tomas Berdych is currently enjoying his highest ever placing in the world rankings, after reaching the semi-finals of the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart. Berdych lost 3-6 5-7 to Spain's David Ferrero on Saturday, conceding the second set after two double-faults in a row. But the youngster probably won't be too upset - he picked up around 35,000 dollars in prize money and has jumped to a very impressive 14th in the world rankings. But Tomas Berdych still has some catching up to do on the leading Czech men's player, Radek Stepanek - he's ranked ninth in the world.
By the way, Berdych's girlfriend Lucie Safarova was also denied a place in a final by a Spaniard at the weekend: Safarova was beaten 6-4 6-4 in the semis of the Palermo International by the eventual winner, Anabel Medina Garrigues.
Ice hockey star Pavel Kubina has been ordered to pay almost 18,000 dollars in damages to a referee by a Czech court. After his club Vitkovice lost a crucial semi-final play-off game to Zlin last year, Kubina publicly accused referee Petr Bolina of taking bribes. The player told the court he had only been expressing his opinion, while several of his Vitkovice team-mates also gave testimony on his behalf. The judge ruled, however, that Kubina had slandered Bolina; as well as the hefty fine, the player has also been ordered to make a public apology.
Speaking of public apologies, footballer Milan Baros last week issued a statement expressing regret for his behaviour, after photos of the striker wearing just shorts and apparently drunk at a wedding party appeared in Czech tabloid newspapers. The incident only adds to the player's woes: after a very disappointing World Cup, a move to Hamburg fell through when Baros's club Aston Villa demanded more money. Now Villa are without a manager, which could keep any other possible transfer on ice...
Pavel Nedved is due to make an announcement very soon about whether he will stay at Juventus, who have been relegated from Italy's Serie A for match-fixing. Meanwhile, fellow Czech Tomas Ujfalusi has indicated he may stay at another disgraced Italian club, Fiorentina. That said, if Fiorentina's appeal against relegation fails, Ujfalusi may be tempted by an offer from the English Premiership, with both Fulham and Portsmouth said to be interested.
Further afield, three Czech footballers have been accused by the Turkish
newspaper Hurriyet of taking bribes to influence a game which their club
Malatyaspor lost 1:0. The result helped another team avoid relegation from
the Turkish first division. Jiri Homola, Jiri Masek and Zdenek Senkerik all
strongly deny taking over 125,000 dollars each to throw the match. Masek
said he was considering taking legal action, adding it was interesting
that only foreigners had been accused in the affair.
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