Anyone too tired of tennis?

A FEW weeks ago I gave a speech at this month's US Open Tennis Championships, which is not bad compared with this year's Wimbledon where there were none.

Unless you count Jana Novotna choking worse than if she had swallowed a Steffi Graf volley and then bawling on the Duchess of Somewhere or Other's knitted jacket.

Sorry, there were three high points.

The first was when a commentator referred to the hyperactive caveman Thomas Muster as having ''an agricultural forehand''.

Second was the same bloke describing Muster's game plan as ''a scorched earth policy''.

High point number three was when Pete Sampras took the singles trophy and went home.

Had Pete gone home a week or two earlier we might have seen some inter esting stuff. Especially if Jim Courier had gone with him.

There is exciting tennis and there is boredom. Messrs Sampras and Courier are very good at tennis, but as interesting as asphalt.

It is fair to say they exude about as much excitement and charisma as a convention for deaf accountants.

Tennis is tedious. People who used to moan that serve and volley tennis was over too quickly now complain that it is not over fast enough.

From the commentary box: Well, Frew, Sampras seems to have settled into a rhythm in this match.

He's served 116 aces and another 229 that the Russian barely got a racquet to.

Yes John, Runninoff will need to start connecting with some of those returns if he is to get back into this match.

If he can start hitting the ball back over the net he could cause a big upset here.

He certainly could Frew. If he hits more balls over the net than the world number one he could even win.

That's right, John. That is what makes tennis such a fascinating game.

And such a big money sport now, Frew. The winner here will take home US$796 million.

And don't forget the luxury car company sponsoring the men's singles here will give a new Cadillac to everyone in Somalia as a gesture of support for the US Open which is being shown live in 432 countries around the world.

At the post-match interview: Congratulations Pete. What do you think won the match for you? I guess it was probably something to do with me getting the last point instead of my opponent.

And I served pretty good too. Alex wasn't returning so good today.

Are you happy with the way you played? Well, I served pretty good and was able to mix it up a bit. I just went out there and hit the ball.

In the tournament so far you've hit 1,386 unreturnable serves and 729 forehand winners. That's pretty exciting stuff - and you are still only 22! Yeah, I'm starting to hit the ball in the middle of the racquet now, but I just wanna take it a match at a time and just go out there and hit the ball.

And Alex, how was it out there today against the number one player in the world? Pete played real good today. He just went out there and hit the ball. I had a few problems with his serve, specially the one that took my left ear off.

Anyway, the cheque for coming second will be a big boost for my country's balance of payments problems.

Back in the commentary box: Well Frew, that was a workmanlike performance from the world number one. What do you think Runninoff might have done differently? I think a knee in the groin at the change of ends would have slowed Sampras down a bit.

You know, give the Russian time to regroup and change his tactics.

Yes, I agree. Runninoff really should have come in more. He was being crucified from the back of the court.

Absolutely. His strategy of standing up there all exposed against the back fence and ducking and weaving all the time never really paid off.

He should have tried to come in more, at least as far as the baseline.

In the STAR TV studio: I now have Vijay Amritraj on the line from Flushing Meadow. Vijay, the next match on the centre court is the number 37 ranked woman Fiona Flipflop from Australia against some little girl in purple knickers from Albania. What's your prediction for this one, Vijay? Well, I was talking to Andre Agassi's coach, Pancho Segura.

Pancho is 72 and reckons he could beat both of them wearing a ball and chain.

So who do you fancy, Vijay? Well, Brian, I've bought a majority interest in a top modelling agency here in New York and I tell ya man . . .