PHILADELPHIA, FEB. 17 -- The radar gun, instituted some years ago to measure serving speed, has become a staple at men's and women's tournaments.
Milliseconds after the serve is hit, the crowd can tell whether Pete Sampras hit the ball 125 miles per hour, or a mere 110.
But during Saturday's semifinal between Sampras and John McEnroe, the gun was turned off, apparently at McEnroe's request. McEnroe also asked that it not be used in his Friday night quarterfinal, saying the machine's clicking distracted him.
McEnroe -- who in his prime had a wicked serve -- and some other players feel that too much emphasis is put on speed at the expense of placement. Sampras, one of the most powerful servers, apparently shares that view. Although no one knew how fast his serves were against McEnroe, he said after the match: "I'm not going out there trying to hit it 125 miles per hour. I'm going out and trying to hit it on the line. I'm trying to place it."
For the record, Sampras's serves today were clocked from 98 to 122 mph. In case you're wondering, Martina Navratilova hit serves over 100 mph in Chicago last week.
Scheduling, Part 2
By now, everyone knows McEnroe wasn't happy about having only a 14-hour rest period between his quarterfinal and semifinal matches this weekend. But how did top-seeded Ivan Lendl feel about playing a best-of-five set match at 1 p.m. today after finishing his three-set match against Brad Gilbert at 10:30 p.m. Saturday?
"It's a bit unfortunate," said Lendl. Each of his previous matches had been at night. "But that's the way it is. It's an adjustment."
Several tennis legends were on hand at The Spectrum this weekend to be honored as members of the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
The stars included Pauline Betz Addie, who won one Wimbledon and four U.S. titles in the 1940s; Don Budge, who in 1938 became the first player to win the Grand Slam; Vic Seixas, who won 15 Grand Slam titles; Fred Stolle, one of the all-time great Australian doubles players; and Gene Mako, who won two Wimbledon doubles titles with Budge.
Posthumous honors went to one-time Wimbledon champion Chuck McKinley and Australian Davis Cup captain and coach Harry Hopman.