His elusive mojo, Andy Roddick. After a demoralizing first-round loss at the U.S. Open, Roddick (above) won both of his Davis Cup singles matches against Belgium last week, which kept the U.S. from having to go through regional qualifying in 2006. Competing on clay, his least favorite surface, Roddick demoralized Christophe Rochus on Friday 6-1, 6-2, 6-3. After twins Bob and Mike Bryan won the Saturday doubles match, Roddick clinched victory for the Americans by outlasting Olivier Rochus (Christophe's younger brother) on Sunday in a five-set passion play, 6-7, 7-6, 7-6, 4-6, 6-3. "I was pretty mad after the U.S. Open. I felt like I needed to prove myself all over again," says Roddick. "This was definitely one of the best matches that I've been involved in."
By Dan Wheldon, his first IRL title. The 27-year-old Brit wrapped up the championship last Saturday in the Watkins Glen Indy Grand Prix, the penultimate race of the season. (He finished fifth.) Wheldon has won an IRL-record six races in 2005, including the Indianapolis 500. "To win [the championship and the Indy 500] in the same year I think is an unbelievable achievement," Wheldon said. "I thought I would be able to do it in my career, but not so early."
The Formula One season title, Fernando Alonso, the series' youngest champ. The 24-year-old from Oviedo, Spain, is one year younger than Emerson Fittipaldi was when he won in 1972. Alonso wrapped up the title with two races left by finishing third in Sunday's Brazilian Grand Prix, which was won by Juan Montoya.
With the IMG agency, U.S. Open champ Roger Federer, the most prominent pro athlete to operate without an agent or a manager. The 24-year-old, who has been No. 1 in the world for the last 87 weeks, had been relying on his girlfriend and his parents for business advice.
By a federal grand jury for writing illegal steroid prescriptions for members of the Carolina Panthers, James M. Shortt. Last March, CBS reported that Shortt, whose license to practice medicine in South Carolina was suspended last April, wrote the prescriptions during the Panthers' 2003 Super Bowl season for center Jeff Mitchell, tackle Todd Steussie (now with the Buccaneers) and punter Todd Sauerbrun (now with the Broncos). So far no player has been punished; commissioner Paul Tagliabue said the league is near the end of its investigation.
From competing in the World Championship Tour after he tested positive for steroids, pro surfer Neco Padaratz (above). The 29-year-old Brazilian used three types of steroids, which he says he took to help rehabilitate his injured back. "Not only is he the first athlete in the history of the sport to test positive for steroids ... it is the first time I have even heard a whisper of any [surfer's] involvement with steroids," said Robert Gerard, the discipline judge of the Association of Surfing Professionals. Padaratz can be reinstated in January, but he will have to work his way back onto the WCT by competing on a lower-level tour.
By Lou Piniella, a buyout that will end his three-year stint as Devil Rays manager at the conclusion of the season. Piniella took the job in his hometown believing that the franchise would commit more money to players. But the Tampa Bay's payroll is just $29 million, the lowest in the majors. "When promises aren't granted ... you would definitely be frustrated with it," said first baseman Eduardo Perez. "I don't blame him for it." The Rays, 65--91 through Monday, lost at least 90 games in each of Piniella's three seasons; in his previous 16 years as a big league manager he never lost more than 88.
At age 22, Arizona senior center Shawntinice Polk, the school's alltime leader in double-doubles (46) and a three-time honorable mention All-America. Polk (right) collapsed on Monday at the McKale Center, where the Wildcats play and practice, but, according to the school, she had not been practicing or working out when she collapsed. No cause of death has been determined. A 6'5" center from Hanford, Calif., Polk was a force under the basket and also had a deft touch. A Wildcats assistant once said she was the best post passer--man or woman--he'd ever seen, and in 2003, when Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer was asked if Polk was the Shaquille O'Neal of the Pac-10, she replied, "Actually, she's better than Shaq. She can shoot." Said Arizona athletic director Jim Livengood, "This is a tragic day for Shawntinice's family and the University of Arizona. We simply feel for everyone who knew this wonderful young woman."
Of pneumonia at age 83, Joe Bauman, whose 72 home runs in 1954 for the Roswell (N.Mex.) Rockets of the Class C Longhorn League stood as a professional baseball record until Barry Bonds hit 73 in 2001. Bauman, a 6'5", 225-pound first baseman, played nine minor league seasons without reaching the majors. "Joe didn't just hit 'em over the fences," said Floyd Economides, who played against Bauman in the Longhorn League. "He hit 'em over the lights."
Of injuries sustained in a Sept. 17 bout with Jesus Chavez in Las Vegas, former lightweight champ Leavander Johnson (SI, Sept. 26). Shortly after referee Tony Weeks stopped the fight in the 11th round, Johnson, who had taken a severe beating, began having trouble walking. He was rushed to the hospital for brain surgery and was put into a medically induced coma. He never regained consciousness and died last Thursday after being removed from life support. "There'll be a lot of people who'll take pokes at boxing for this," said Lou DiBella, Johnson's promoter. "But this was not a situation where anyone failed Leavander Johnson. It was just God's will. It's a sport that's inherently dangerous."
645 Consecutive games the Rockies went without having a pitcher throw a complete-game shutout before Sunny Kim blanked the Giants last Saturday; no other team has had a shutout-less streak longer than 450 games.
31 Age of Jets punter Ben Graham, the oldest rookie ever to play in the NFL on opening day.
41.6 Graham's net punting average, second-best in the NFL through three weeks.
10,000 Liters of free beer that a German brewery will pour for supporters of soccer team Hamburg SV; the beermaker promised a party for fans of the first team to beat defending Bundesliga champ Bayern Munich, which lost 2-0 last Saturday, this season.