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Flagship station sues Marlins

The Florida Marlins have been sued by their flagship radio station, claiming that last season's breakup of a World Series champion cost it profits.

The lawsuit, filed this week by WQAM and parent company Beasley-Reed Acquisitions, seeks an unspecified reduction in their rights fee from last season and for the next three seasons. Also named as a defendant is Marlins owner Wayne Huizenga's Front Row Communications.

WQAM's five-year, $15-million contract took effect before the 1997 season when the Marlins won the World Series. The station wants to keep the games but at a reduced price.

The Marlins lost 108 games last season after many key players from the championship team were traded in cost-cutting moves.

Prospective owner John Henry said he thinks WQAM does not have grounds for a lawsuit and that it will not affect his ongoing acquisition of the team.

"If WQAM refuses to pay the rights fee, the simplest thing might be to move the games to another station," Henry said. "but I very much hope WQAM will remain our flagship station, and I expect them to be."

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TENNIS: Australian Open champion Petr Korda planned to retire but changed his mind because he wants to clear his name after failing a steroids test. "I couldn't retire in such circumstances," he told The Times of London. . . . Martina Hingis is determined to use the Hopman Cup to regain the No. 1 ranking, which she lost to Lindsay Davenport. Hingis and Switzerland play Davenport and the United States in a second-round match. "I've been there at the top," Hingis said, "and want to have the feeling back again."

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_ Compiled from Times wires.

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