Saturday 7/4

Wimbledon Finals

Madonna has returned with Ray of Light. Monica (Seles, that is)
has returned to hit returns. Are we returning to that early '90s
Age of Madonnica, when the Material Girl recorded No. 1 singles
and her adoring fan Seles was the No. 1 singles player? Dye jobs
notwithstanding, yes. Finally emerging from years of misfortune
and ranked fifth in the world, Seles defeated last year's
Wimbledon champ, top-ranked Martina Hingis, in the French Open
semis in June before falling to Arantxa Sanchez Vicario in the
final. Wimbledon is the only tournament Seles (who at week's end
had reached the quarterfinals) needs to complete her
career-Grand-Slam dossier. In the men's draw, top-ranked Pete
Sampras, who through last Monday's matches had a 40-5 singles
record at the All-England, was bidding to join Bjorn Borg as the
only other male five-time winner here since World War I.

Pepsi 400

During his go-kart salad days, NASCAR driver Jeremy Mayfield
(left) once raced against his own mother, Judy. Before the event
the Owensboro, Ky., native instructed his mom, whose last name
happens to be Gordon, not to allow anyone to pass her on the
inside. When her own young'un attempted to do precisely that,
Gordon veered into him and the entangled go-karts flipped. In
the Pepsi 400, NASCAR's first high-banked nocturnal knock-turn
at the Daytona Speedway, Mayfield may trade paint with another
tough-mother Gordon--Jeff. The 1997 series champion leads
Mayfield in the Winston Cup standings by 40 points. Who needs
Fourth of July fireworks when enough light will be poured onto
the 2.5-mile oval to illuminate 24,000 blocks of residential
streets or attract every June bug in the Sunshine State?

Monday 7/6

Home Run Derby

Rocky Mountain High...and deep. Staging this contest at
mile-high Coors Field with the likes of the Cardinals' Mark
McGwire (36 homers at week's end) and the Cubs' Sammy Sosa
(left, 32 round-trippers) is like setting up Billy Dee Williams
in a penthouse pad with a case of Colt .45 and a cache of Johnny
Mathis records: Home runs are a sure thing. The Rangers' Juan
Gonzalez (24 dingers) and the Mariners' Ken Griffey Jr. (32),
the 1993 and '94 derby winners, respectively, planned to skip
tonight's Into Thin Air spectacle. Even if they opt out, both
can be seen the following night in the American League outfield
watching McGwire's and Sosa's moon shots in the 69th annual
All-Star Game.

Tuesday 7/7

World Cup Semifinals

"Gaaaaaaauuuuuuuuuuuul!" You say you get no kicks from
Champagne? You will get plenty from Marseilles, site of today's
semifinal, or Saint-Denis, tomorrow's host city. The winner of
the July 3 quarterfinals match between reigning champion Brazil,
whose players star in this summer's most entertaining commercial
(is that a Nike spot or a commentary on the Air France strike?),
and gritty, unheralded Denmark will find itself in the south of
France. For Wednesday's semifinal, the most desirable matchup to
emerge from the quarters would be an all-European affair between
three-time Cup winner Germany and either Italy, whose gifted
striker Christian Vieri had a tournament-leading five goals, or
host France and its surefooted scoring machine, Zinedine Zidane.

Friday 7/10

Rockers at Mercury

Suzie McConnell Serio is helping to feed her family by feeding
her teammates. A WNBA rookie but a veteran mother of four, the
31-year-old Serio (left), Cleveland's second-round draft pick
and the NCAA alltime assist leader (1,307) at Penn State, was
atop the league at week's end in assists (7.0 per game) and
progeny. In the Serio household, "We got next" refers to bath
time. While most point guards are expected to behave like
coaches on the floor, Serio is a coach in the off-season. In
1993 she took the girls of Pittsburgh's Oakland Catholic High to
the Pennsylvania state championship. Phoenix forward Jennifer
Gillom, the Mercury's leader in scoring (18.2) and rebounding
(6.5), knows the joys of being coddled and dished to by Serio:
Ten years ago they were teammates on the U.S. Olympic
gold-medal-winning squad in Seoul.

COLOR PHOTO: GEORGE TIEDEMANN [Jeremy Mayfield's race car] COLOR PHOTO: STEPHEN GREEN [Sammy Sosa swinging baseball bat] COLOR PHOTO: GREG SHAMUS/WNBA PHOTOS [Suzie McConnell Serio dribbling basketball in game]


Remember when elevators and golf telecasts used the same
background Muzak? No more. Last weekend during the Western Open,
the top-five hit Iris, by the Goo Goo Dolls--a band last seen on
network TV on Beverly Hills, 90210--was playing as CBS opened
the show. With four of this year's top-five PGA money winners
under 29, it's obvious that the Tour's programmers have learned
to embrace their Gen X audience. Next they'll rename a certain
August tournament the "Not Your Father's Buick Open."