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Sporting Review 2001
As with any sporting year, 2001 had its fair share of surprises, shocks and disappointments. The Yankees failed to retain the World Series crown for a traumatised New York, but Kobe and Shaq helped the Lakers to a repeat NBA title for Phil Jackson's latest dynasty. Tiger Woods shocked more people by not winning a Major, than winning one (or two, or three...). At the more physical extremes of sport, Lance Armstrong won the gruelling Tour de France for the third successive year.

Australia, again, proved a source of sporting excellence. The Wallabies came back after losing the first match to win a thrilling Rugby Union series against the visiting British and Irish Lions, while their cricketers dominated in England over the summer retaining the Ashes once again. Lleyton Hewitt came of age with a US Open victory and finished the year as World No. 1 following his Masters Cup triumph in Sydney. The year closed on a down, down under, with defeat by France in tennis' Davis Cup as well as elimination from the 2002 FIFA World Cup in the final qualifying match.

Other notable absentees from Japan and Korea in 2002 are Holland, Colombia, Jamaica, Iran, Romania and Norway. Some of the traditional big names, such as Brazil, England and Germany, had uneasy moments in qualifying, but will be among the 32 teams ready to kick off at the end of May.

Although the Williams sisters and the second coming of Jennifer Capriati accounted for most of the silverware in women's tennis, 2001 saw Belgium emerge as a power in the game. Kim Clijsters and then Justine Henin reached Grand Slam finals at Roland Garros and Wimbledon, while in Madrid they were assisted by Els Callens and Laurence Courtois to take the Fed Cup World Final. And...yet again, Anna Kournikova failed to win a singles WTA Tour event - the only cups with her name on are moulded by Berlei.

In the world of boxing, Lennox Lewis lost the plot - and his belts - to Hasim Rahman, but stripped fitter in November to regain the Heavyweight title. Lewis now awaits a much-talked-about showdown with Mike Tyson in 2002.





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