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Rumors of return by Borg seem true

The rumors, apparently, are true. Five-time Wimbledon champion Bjorn Borg is trying to make a comeback at age 34. The Swedish pro, who retired from the game eight years ago, reportedly has been working out in Milan, Italy, and with coach Nick Brown in London. Borg is said to be using his old signature Donnay racket that's made of wood.

It is believed that Borg is returning to the tour for financial reasons after poor investments and a struggling clothing business sucked up most of the more than $5-million he earned in prize money and endorsements.

"He must have gotten wiped out financially," said ATP Tour official Jay Beck. "The poor guy. Tennis is the only thing he knows how to do."

While indications are that Borg is considering returning to the tour in April or May at the Monte Carlo Open or the German Open, reports out of Milan say he has got a long way to go to regain his old form that made him No. 1 in the world in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Two Italians pros, Enrico Cocchi and Ugo Pigato, were quoted in the Gazzetta dello Sport, a Milan daily newspaper, as saying they have been whipping the six-time French Open champ handily.

"He's improving, but I believe he could hardly make a successful comeback," Pigato said. "Right now, he would not rank among the top 100 in the world."

The race for No. 1: The battle for the men's No. 1 ranking is coming down to the wire between Boris Becker and Stefan Edberg. Becker's victory over Edberg in Sunday's Stockholm Open final pulled the West German pro to within 147 points of Edberg _ the Swede's smallest lead since he took over the top spot on Aug. 13. Ivan Lendl is a distant third.

Becker, who has never been ranked No. 1, has won three of the last four meetings with Edberg, and is 17-9 against him in his career. The two players go at it again this week at the Paris Open, the final tournament before the season-ending ATP Tour World Championships, Nov. 11-17, in Frankfurt, Germany.

Making their moves: Mary Joe Fernandez of Miami has jumped to fourth in the latest Virginia Slims World rankings released Monday. Fernandez was eighth coming into October. Also, Jennifer Capriati of Saddlebrook cracked the top 10, moving from 11th to 10th after winning the Puerto Rico Open, her first pro tournament, Sunday.

Anke Huber, who has been tagged as Germany's next great player since Steffi Graf, has climbed to No. 32 in the world rankings after starting the year at No. 165.

This year, Huber has upset eighth-ranked Zina Garrison and has won her first pro title at the OTB Open, a U.S. Open tune-up tournament.

Finally, little-known Naoko Sawamatsu of Japan has rocketed from No. 257 at this time a year ago to a current ranking of 33. Sawamatsu was a Canadian Open quarterfinalist and the Singapore Women's Open winner.

Capriati likes The Great One: Capriati hasn't just been playing tennis lately. She's been shopping, too. At a recent auction in Boca Raton, Capriati bought one of Los Angeles Kings star Wayne Gretzky's hockey sticks for $4,150.

Connors under the knife: Jimmy Connors underwent successful wrist surgery earlier this month in Santa Barbara, Calif. Doctors repaired the torn extensor tendon in Connors' left wrist that has hampered him most of the year. Connors, 38, must wear a cast on the wrist for six weeks and go through a rehabilitation program before returning to action early next year.

Seles on Red Cross list: French Open champ Monica Seles has been resting at her Sarasota home, nursing a sore ankle. The 16-year-old Yugoslav withdrew from the Porsche Grand Prix two weeks ago.

USF tourney: The University of South Florida Invitational tournament is Friday through Sunday at the USF varsity courts in Tampa. The tournament is open to anyone, and features singles and doubles for men and women. The entry fee is $10 for singles and $5 per person for doubles. The entry deadline is Thursday at 1 p.m. Proceeds benefit the USF men's tennis team. For more information, call the school at 974-2125.