Not So JollyRoger
SINCE ROGER FEDERER became the world's No. 1 tennis player in 2004, the onlytime he could be accused of slumping was when he walked sheepishly,self-deprecatingly to the net after another win. This is a player who has wonsix of the last seven majors and once went more than a year without losing inconsecutive tournaments. Yet heading into this week's event in Hamburg,Germany, Federer has lost four times since March and has taken the trophy at"just" two of the six events he's entered in '07. Last week in Rome,Federer fell in straight sets to Filippo Volandri, an Italian ranked No. 34 inthe world. This skid has perplexed everyone in the tennis salon, not leastFederer himself. "I don't know what's wrong," he says. "I have toanalyze it myself."
Normally long onboth patience and loyalty, Federer split with his part-time coach, Tony Roche,last week. (Roche, an Aussie who is one of the most respected instructors inthe world, reportedly refused to go on the road for more than 15 weeks a year,meaning much of his coaching was done by telephone or e-mail.) For Roche, thiscompleted an unfortunate hat trick: He failed to coach Ivan Lendl to an elusiveWimbledon title, guide Pat Rafter to an Australian Open and assist Federer inwinning the French Open—the one line missing from the Swiss star's gildedrésumé.
Proving that nogood deed goes unpunished, some wonder whether Federer hasn't spread himselftoo thin with humanitarian projects and general accessibility. It also bearsmentioning that Federer switched rackets before the start of the season and isplaying with a model with a smaller head. Whatever its cause, this swoon augursill for Federer's odds at the French Open, which begins in two weeks. Even ifFederer gets his game out of the breakdown lane, defending champ RafaelNadal—who has won 77 straight matches on clay—is the overwhelming favorite. Amore optimistic spin: One of the earmarks of a true champion is the ability toself-correct. Federer certainly has the chance to do that now.
By Dolphins running back Ricky Williams, a marijuana test, according topublished reports. The former NFL rushing champ, who played the 2006 season inCanada after being suspended by the NFL for failing four drug tests, appliedfor reinstatement last month. But his most recent failed test will likely delayhis return until at least September. Miami coach Cam Cameron has beennoncommittal about welcoming back Williams, 30, who has played in just 12 NFLgames since '03.
That he is leaving the U.S. ski team, Bode Miller. The 29-year-old won the 2005World Cup overall title but bombed at the '06 Olympics when it seemed he wasmore interested in the nightlife in Italy than the slopes. He previously drewthe ire of the U.S. ski federation when on the eve of the Torino Games he told60 Minutes that he had skied while "wasted." Miller will train andtravel independently of the U.S. team, which Miller claimed was planning toinstitute rules that would govern him more onerously than his teammates. "Ido not believe I can excel and perform at the level I demand of myself underthe guidelines the U.S. ski team has presented," Miller (below) said."I will continue to ski as an American under the U.S. flag and am proud todo so." The announcement came during a trying week for Miller: Last Fridayhis 24-year-old cousin, Liko Kenney, shot and killed a New Hampshire policeofficer during a traffic stop. Kenney was then shot and killed by a passerbywhen he refused to drop his weapon.
As executive director of the NHL Players' Association, Ted Saskin. Acontroversial choice when he took the job two years ago (he was the onlycandidate interviewed), Saskin was placed on a paid leave of absence two monthsago in light of accusations that he spied on players by tapping into theire-mail accounts. Saskin was fired by the union's executive board in aconference call. "It was a unanimous vote today, which was nice," saidDetroit defenseman Chris Chelios. "We're all on the same page. We're movingforward."
On charges that he was a pimp, former Steelers linebacker Richard Seigler. LastThursday, hours after Pittsburgh released him, the 26-year-old was accused byLas Vegas police of pandering, providing transportation for a prostitute andliving off the earnings of a prostitute. Seigler—who spent part of last seasonon the Steelers' practice squad and played in one game—denied the charges."The police department in Las Vegas is trying to make a name forthemselves," Seigler (right) told The Oregonian. "When the off-seasonain't more than two months, how am I able to run a prostitution ring when I'mliving in Pittsburgh playing football?" Seigler faces up to 10 years inprison.
Of cancer at age 79, Gino Pariani, a midfielder on the 1950 U.S. World Cupteam. Pariani scored for the Yanks in their opener, a 3--1 loss to Spain, fourdays before they beat England 1--0 in one of the biggest upsets in soccerhistory. Pariani, who was elected to the U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame in 1976,wasn't flashy, but he played a key role in the win over England, helping theU.S. control possession in the midfield. "Gino was probably moreappreciated by his teammates than the fans," teammate Walter Bahr said."Always reliable, always gave a good game. You could depend upon him to dohis job well."
Of injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident, former boxing champion DiegoCorrales, 29. Corrales, a native of Sacramento, died on May 7, the secondanniversary of his greatest triumph: his knockout of Jose Luis Castillo in whatsome boxing connoisseurs consider one of the greatest fights ever held. Hisleft eye swollen shut, Corrales twice pulled himself off the canvas early inthe 10th round, then stopped Castillo a minute later, winning the WBClightweight belt. The fight was typical of Corrales's career (40--5, 33 KOs);he possessed both punishing power and an amazing threshold for pain. "Youthink of Hagler-Hearns and Ali-Frazier, but that was one of the mostsensational fights of any era," said light welterweight Ricky Hatton.
Cox Countdown: 4
Braves manager Bobby Cox, 66, has been tossed 128 timesin his 26 years as a major league manager. He needs just four more ejections tobreak the record set by Hall of Famer John McGraw. How close is the volcanicveteran to his next eruption? SI's Coxometer tells all.
SINCE GETTING thumb number 128 on May 6, Cox has seemedhappy—and for good reason. At 24--13 the Braves are atop the NL East. With a9--2 win over the Pirates last Saturday, Cox moved past Sparky Anderson intofourth place on the career wins list. The closest thing to an argument he couldmuster last week was a brief, not altogether unpleasant discussion with homeplate umpire Kerwin Danley on Friday when Atlanta's Craig Wilson thought apitch hit him but Danley ruled he had swung. The record of McGraw—who oncesplit an ump's lip with a punch—looks safe for now.
They Said It
WLADIMIR KLITSCHKO, IBF and IBO heavyweight champ, onhis place in the division:
"I'm not as top as I'd like to be, but I'm topper than the others."
5 Home runs journeyman Jack Cust, who played for fourteams between 2001 and '06, hit in 144 major league at bats before thisseason.
6 Homers Cust hit in his first 26 at bats with theAthletics after being traded to Oakland by San Diego on May 3.
12 Consecutive wins by the Angels' Bartolo Colonagainst the Rangers, tying Pedro Martinez's 12--0 mark against Seattle from1998 to 2004 for the longest winning streak by a pitcher against one team.
11 Three-pointers hit by the Warriors in the first halfof their Game 3 win over the Jazz last Friday, tying an NBA playoff record forone half.
97 Runs the Braves have scored with two outs thisseason, the most in the majors and 11 more than they've scored with fewer thantwo outs.
4 Major leaguers who have hit their first home run aspart of a cycle; Giants rookie Fred Lewis did so on Sunday against theRockies.
SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE
A German sex-toy company was ordered to pay $67,000 indamages to two of the country's soccer stars for using their names onvibrators.