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Speculation starting on Seles' tour return

Southern California has surfaced as the possible site of Monica Seles' return to the women's tour.

Seles, who lives in Sarasota, reportedly is close to rejoining the tour and may make her first appearance at the Toshiba Tennis Classic in San Diego, which runs July 31-Aug. 6. Other possible sites could be the Acura Classic in Los Angeles (Aug. 7) and the Canadian Open in Toronto (Aug. 14).

Playing the San Diego event would make Seles a busy woman. Her exhibition match against Martina Navratilova is July 29 at the Atlantic City Convention Center.

According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, Seles will have her No. 1 ranking restored, making her and Steffi Graf co-No. 1s. That would allow Seles, who is unranked, to avoid playing qualifying matches in order to get into main draws.

WTA TOUR officials couldn't confirm the report; nor could San Diego tournament officials, who nevertheless are holding a wild-card spot for her.

Trivia: It's no surprise Boris Becker has the highest winning percentage (.836) and the most titles on grass (6) among active ATP Tour players. Who is second best?

Quote of the week: From little-known pro Tim Henman, who was asked how he fared against Pete Sampras after a 6-1, 6-2 loss.

"I finished second, and pretty close to third."

Quote of the week II: From Aussie pro Todd Woodbridge, who was asked what it's like to compete against longtime doubles partner, Mark Woodforde, in singles.

"It's like playing your wife."

Hinging in there: Martina Hingis may not get very far at Wimbledon (she opens against Graf today), but she has already come a long way. Hingis, from Switzerland, who is the sport's latest teen star, comes into Wimbledon ranked No. 18 after joining the tour in October at No. 378. She has beaten Jana Novotna, Anke Huber and Helena Sukova, and reached the finals at the Hamburg event.

C'est incredible: Jim Courier, who has been called names unfit to print by several American writers, apparently is loved by French journalists. During the French Open last month, Courier was awarded the Orange Prize, which is given annually to the player who shows the best attitude toward the media.

Best Wimbledon match: It may turn out to be the doubles clash between second seeds Woodbridge and Woodforde and Ken Flach and Robert Seguso, the former stars who are making a comeback.

The only time the teams faced each other was the 1991 ATP Tour World Doubles Championship, which Flach-Seguso won 7-6, 7-6.

No catnap: Think players don't live interesting lives off the court? Well, during a break at the ATP Tour event in Halle, Germany, Michael Stich and his wife, Jessica, baptized four white baby Bengali tigers.

Jerry who? During a conference call with reporters last week, ATP Tour officials played a joke on Sampras, putting L. A. Lakers executive vice president Jerry West on the line, posing as a tennis writer.

The two have a running gag stemming from a golf outing last year when Sampras broke one of West's clubs.

Don't touch that dial: One person who apparently won't be watching Wimbledon is French Open champion Thomas Muster, who lives in Monte Carlo.

"I don't have a television in Monte Carlo," he said. "Actually, I do have one, but it doesn't work."

Trivia answer: Stich (.803), who is 49-12 on grass.

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