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Wednesday, June 1, 2005
Roland Garros museum reels in broken chair

Associated Press

PARIS – Marat Safin leaves his mark wherever he goes.

The Russian exited the French Open on Monday, but a part of him – or rather a byproduct of his famed temper – will stay behind.

The two-time Grand Slam champion got so angry during his fourth-round loss to Tommy Robredo that he slammed his racket into his changeover chair, leaving a gaping hole in the wooden base.

Safin was fined $1,000 for unsportsmanlike conduct. The sum was deducted from his prize winnings of $76,285.

So what happens to the broken chair? It will take its place in the Roland Garros tennis museum, as part of a display called ``100 objects, 100 years of tennis,'' museum director Jean-Christophe Piffaut said.

``Safin's language on court is not so great, but as long as he keeps providing us with new things, we don't mind,'' Piffaut said.

In 2002, Safin mangled a racket so badly that Piffaut kept it in his museum, and even put together a short movie of Safin's tantrums during that tournament.

They don't play that movie anymore, but someday there should be a sequel.

Close call
Don't expect Mariano Puerta to go up the Eiffel Tower any time soon.

The French Open semifinalist had a close call two years ago when he took an elevator up to his 19th-floor apartment in Buenos Aires.

When Puerta heard strange rattling noises, he decided to get out on the 18th floor. Moments after he stepped out the door, the shaft snapped, sending the elevator plummeting.

``I had a real scare,'' he said. ``It was pretty frightening. ... For some time I didn't want to get back in an elevator ever again.''

Men behaving badly
Men have a 20-6 edge over women at this year's French Open, but the lead is nothing to be proud of.

Through Tuesday, 20 men had received fines for code violations during the tournament, compared with six women.

Fines ranged from $250 for abuse of rackets and equipment to $2,000 for an audible obscenity.

Bad behavior has hit the men for a bit more pocket change. The total owed by men is $15,000, compared to just $1,750 for women.

The worst male offender so far is Wayne Arthurs, fined $2,000 for swearing during his first-round loss to Jurgen Melzer.

Nadia Petrova's visible obscenity in her fourth-round win over Elena Bovina cost her $1,500. That tally could rise if Petrova loses her cool against Justine Henin-Hardenne in Thursday's semifinal.

Who's the real champion?
Three champions and one Champion played senior doubles at the French Open.

Pat Cash and Thierry Champion played against Michael Stich and Mats Wilander in the over-35 category.

Cash, Stich and Wilander all won at least one Grand Slam championship and have nine among them – with Wilander owning seven titles. Cash and Stich each won Wimbledon.

Champion never won a tournament title.