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Becker threatens to go to court against Church of Scientology

June 28, 1997 GMT

WIMBLEDON, England (AP) _ Three-time Wimbledon champion Boris Becker is threatening to go to court against the Church of Scientology.

Becker’s manager and Munich attorney, Axel Meyer-Woelden, has given Scientology a July 1 deadline to say it will stop using Becker’s name and photo on the Internet.

Scientology, which is not recognized as a church in Germany, was recently placed on a list of groups under observation by state offices because it is viewed as a threat to democracy. It has used Becker’s name without permission, the German sports news agency SID reported.


On its Internet page, Scientology claimed a climate of fear exists in Germany. A picture of Becker and his wife Barbara carried the caption: ``Tennis star Boris Becker has made it known that he, along with his wife and his son will leave Germany, after suffering years of intolerance and misuse, apparently because his wife is black.″


CROQUET ANYONE? Pete Sampras has won Wimbledon three times. Bjorn Borg has won it five times. And Willie Renshaw won it seven times in the 19th century. That’s nothing compared to Bernard Neal, who has been a Wimbledon champion 32 times.

That’s croquet champion. But, after all, this is the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. The All England Croquet Club was formed in 1868 _ nine years before the first Wimbledon tennis championships _ when the title was changed to the All England Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club.

In 1899, tennis got top billing with the title changed to the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club.

Neal first won the croquet title in 1963. He’d probably prefer the original name.


RAIN STILL IN FORECAST: Though it has eased up a bit, rain is in the forecast into Wednesday or Thursday of this week, which could wreak more havoc on Wimbledon.

This is the second-wettest June in England this century. Rainfall through Friday was more than four inches, closing in on the record of the century set in 1982 _ about five inches.

Rain the first five days of the tournament forced postponement of more than 200 matches.


WHO, ME WAIT?: At least three of the women on the WTA Tour wouldn’t wait in the rain to see a match at Wimbledon.

``If the weather wasn’t bad, I wouldn’t mind. But it’s crazy if it’s raining,″ American Lindsay Davenport said.


``You’ve got to be kidding,″ American Nicole Arendt said.

Jana Novotna had a novel idea. ``I would try to find a way to get in without waiting in the queue,″ she said.


UNDERHANDED GREG: Britain’s Greg Rusedski served 36 aces in his victory over Jonathan Stark. He also flipped an underhanded serve in the seventh game of the fifth set while leading 40-love.

``I just wanted to get relaxed on the court ... I just wanted to have a little laugh,″ Rusedski said. ``I ended up double faulting _ I think twice afterwards _ so it didn’t really work.″


ODDS AND ENDS: Pictures of Martina Hingis, her tennis skirt flying up in a first-round match, filled the British tabs. In Saturday’s second-round match, she wore a longer skirt with bicycle shorts underneath. The British tabs asked about that, too.

``I know it wasn’t great, the dress, the shorts were pretty short,″ she said. ``I think today I looked much better. You don’t see yourself on the court.″

Venus Williams, who dropped her first-round match, was asked what she’ll do next? ``Go to summer school,″ she said.

Britain, long known as a feeble tennis nation, got seven players through to the second round. The United States got six through.