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The Beat

After writing How to Play Tennis last summer, Serena and Venus Williams (below) have tackled some off-court topics in their latest book. Venus & Serena Serving from the Hip: Ten Rules for Living, Loving and Winning contains nuggets of wisdom for preteen girls--written in tight, Ogden Nash-ian rhymes --on topics including money ("Bling bling isn't everything. When it comes to cash it's better to stash than flash") and guys ("Don't rush a crush"). You've got to admit: As advice, it's nice. "We are considered role models," Serena said last week in Key Biscayne, Fla., where she was defending her title in the Nasdaq-100 Open. "Unlike a lot of athletes, we embrace that."

■ Also in the field in Key Biscayne was Martina Navratilova, who announced last Thursday that she will become the spokeswoman for Olivia, a San Francisco--based travel company that books vacations for gay women. "This is the first deal I've gotten because I am gay," Navratilova told The New York Times. "Hallelujah." In exchange for her six-figure fee, Navratilova, 48, will wear the company logo on her shirt during tournaments and will appear in print ads. Navratilova is the second athlete to be sponsored by Olivia. LPGA star Rosie Jones signed with the company last year.

■ If he wins yet another Tour de France, Lance Armstrong won't have to rename his new Austin nightspot Seventh instead of Sixth. According to co-owner John Korioth, the joint is named after Six Sigma, a popular business management philosophy. Slated to open in July during the Tour, Sixth will have a rooftop deck and live music--but there won't be a bicycle or a yellow jersey in sight. Armstrong and his partners decided against a cycling motif.

■ Faced with declining participation, the Japan Amateur Sumo Federation came up with a cheeky thought: Perhaps if kids weren't required to grapple in thongs, they would be more likely to take up the ancient sport. So the federation has begun allowing young wrestlers to wear thigh-length tights under the traditional loincloths, which are called mawashi. But the professional Japan Sumo Association is none too pleased to see the sacred dohyo (the ring, on which women are not permitted to set foot) befouled by boys in biking shorts. The controversy was front-page news last week in the Yomiuri, Japan's top newspaper, with a spokesman for the pro association vowing, "We have no intention of allowing children in pants into the ring." ... When Koby Clemens, the 18-year-old son of Roger Clemens, announced he would follow in his father's footsteps and play baseball for the University of Texas, his proud papa gave him the keys to the burnt-orange Hummer (the horn plays The Eyes of Texas) his Yankees teammates gave him for winning his 300th game, in 2003. Alas, Koby failed to use the key that locks the doors. The vehicle was stolen on March 23 after Koby left it unlocked outside his Houston high school. It was found, un-damaged, later that day.


Rockies pitcher Darren Oliver had to leave a spring training game because he was swarmed by bees attracted to the coconut oil in his hair gel.

They Said It


Devil Rays G.M., on the state of his team: "The only thing that keeps this organization from being recognized as one of the finest in baseball is wins and losses at the major league level."




Barry Bonds won't be splashing balls into McCovey Cove anytime soon, but there are still plenty of waterborne souvenirs to be had. During the first round of the Players Championship (page 37), Woody Austin angrily tossed his driver into a lake near the 18th tee. It was recovered by a fan, Kelly Shields, accustomed to making big saves. He's a goalie for the Jacksonville Barracudas of the Southern Professional Hockey League.