Becker out after back pains hitNo. 1...


Becker out after back pains hit

No. 1 seed Boris Becker withdrew today from the Italian Open because of back spasms, the third top player to pull out of the $1.2 million tournament in Rome.

On the court, Mark Koevermans of The Netherlands upset No. 10 seed Michael Stich of Germany 4-6, 6-4, 6-4. U.S. Open champion Pete Sampras struggled through three sets before beating Soviet qualifier Vladimir Gabrichidze. Sampras needed nearly two hours before defeating the speedy Gabrichidze 7-6 (7-2), 4-6, 6-2. Also, No. 7 seed Jonas Svensson of Sweden won his first-round match, against Argentine Franco Davin 6-4, 3-6, 6-4.

"It all started in my exhibition against Stefan Edberg in Lausanne 10 days ago," Becker said of his injury. "It was very cold, and we played for nearly 3 1/2 hours. The next day, I noticed that my back wasn't right. The muscles were very tight, and I could barely move them. I'd hope that it would get better, but it hasn't."

Two other top 10 players -- No. 3 Ivan Lendl and No. 5 Guy Forget -- pulled out of the Italian Open last week because of injuries.

Becker, a three-time Wimbledon champion, said he couldn't predict whether he would be able to compete at the French Open in two weeks. He said he would go home to Germany to consult with a personal physician.

Pro football

* Michael Proctor threw a 10-yard pass to K.D. Dunn and Bjorn Nittmo kicked two field goals as the Montreal Machine defeated the winless Raleigh-Durham Skyhawks 15-6 in the World League of American Football.

Last night's victory in Montreal moved the Machine (4-4) into a first-place tie with the New York-New Jersey Knights in the North American East Division. Raleigh-Durham is 0-8.


* Amateur golf star Vicki Goetze dominated an otherwise all-male field in the Georgia Class A state high school tournament to become the first female winner of a prep golf tournament in Georgia.

The 18-year-old senior at Athens Academy, the 1989 U.S. Amateur and 1990 World Amateur champion, made a 70-foot birdie putt on the final hole for a 2-under-par 70 and a six-stroke victory in the tournament at the Ocmulgee State Park Course.

"I've been playing against boys for four years in high school," said Goetze, who will attend the University of Georgia next season, "and I always played against Nicky [her brother, a sophomore at Clemson] and his friends. Playing from the same tees used to be a problem, but not anymore."

Track & field

* A high school pole vaulter died Sunday from a head injury sustained during a meet. Brady Collard, 17, a junior at La Junta High School in Colorado Springs, hit his head Saturday on the slab that extends from beneath the mats in the pole vault landing area. He was competing in the Class 4A regional meet at Cheyenne Mountain High.

Doctors at St. Francis Hospital operated for four hours on Collard's head injury, hospital officials said.

College basketball

* Bill McCaffrey, who started 21 games at guard for NCAA champion Duke last season, is transferring to Vanderbilt, the school said today.

McCaffrey scored 16 points in Duke's championship game victory over Kansas. He said he chose Vanderbilt over UCLA, Stanford and Colorado.

* Former NBA stars Nate "Tiny" Archibald, Dave Cowens and Harry Gallatin and Indiana coach Bob Knight were inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame last night in Springfield, Mass.

In 1972-73 with Kansas City-Omaha, Archibald became the only player in NBA history to lead the league in scoring (34.0) and assists (11.4) in the same season. He averaged 18.8 points in his 13-year career.

Cowens played 10 of 11 NBA seasons with Boston and averaged 17.6 points and 13.6 rebounds in his career. Gallatin starred for the New York Knicks during the late 1940s and 1950s, averaging 13.0 points and 11.9 rebounds.

Knight captured NCAA titles in 1976, 1981 and 1987 and coached the U.S. team to the gold medal in the 1984 Olympics.

Also inducted were former NBA commissioner Larry O'Brien, who died last September; Boris Stankovic, head of the International Basketball Federation; and the late Larry Fleisher, who founded the NBA Players Association and served as its head for 25 years.

The trustees award for service to the game went to Morgan Wootten, who has coached at DeMatha High School in Washington for 36 years. * Detroit's Dennis Rodman, San Antonio's David Robinson, Portland's Buck Williams, Chicago's Michael Jordan and Milwaukee's Alvin Robertson comprise the All-NBA Defensive team announced today.

The second team is made up of Scottie Pippen, Chicago; Dan Majerle, Phoenix; Hakeem Olajuwon, Houston; Joe Dumars, Detroit, and John Stockton, Utah.


* Gaylord Perry, who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame later this year, resigned as baseball coach at Limestone College in Gaffney, S.C., after five seasons at the NAIA school.

Perry, who started the baseball program at Limestone, cited "personal reasons" for his resignation. But the former major league pitcher threatened to quit earlier this month over a dispute with school officials concerning how much money was being spent on the program.

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