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SIOUX CITY -- Strawberries and cream. Breakfast at Wimbledon.

Each puts its signature on one of the most heralded tournaments in tennis.

They wouldn't be called slogans, but certainly catch-phrases.

They played the men's singles final in England Sunday and for television viewers in the U,S. ground strokes came about the same time as bogus hand passes in soccer's World Cup men's final.

Serbian Novak Djokovic won the tennis and France overwhelmed Croatia in soccer, 4-2.

Approximately 30,000 killograms of strawberries are consumed each summer during The Championships, but Wimbledon wouldn't be Wimbledon without strawberries and cream AND Serena Williams reaching the women's singles final.

Those folks from Croatia do a pretty good job at soccer, arguably the No. 2 sport in a country that didn't gain autonomy until 1991 after the breakup of Yugoslavia.

The United States has a soccer problem much like Croatia, but futboll drops down several notches from No. 2 in the U.S.

Basketball may be king in the U.S., same as in Croatia, although football may have an argument Over Here. But, Over There, it could be a tossup.

Croatia plays pretty good tennis, too.

Marin Cilic is the reigning U.S. Open champ and Goran Ivanisevic won the men's singles at The Championships in 2001.

Back to hoops.

Dina Rada, Mirko Novosel, Kresimir Cosic, Tony Kukoc and the late Drazen Petrovic are Croatian member of the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame, although Kuckoc gained fame as a Yugoslav.

For you dreamers thinking a Dream Team will return to the Olympics, keep in mind the only team in the world better than Croatia at basketball in the 1992 Olympics was America. winning the gold medal game 117-85.

In 1987, the only Sioux City resident to play in the men's singles and doubles at Wimbledon is Rick Rudeen, Rick likely gulped down his share of strawberries and cream in the leafy suburbs of London.

He actually won a qualifier over Niclas Kroon, but lost in doubles.

Rudeen, in the computer business in Sioux City originally, was not long out of an All-America tennis career at Clemson University when he played in the USTA Segment Three Circuit that made its fifth stop in Sioux City in the KCAU/Security Bank Masters in 1985.

Rudeen, seeded fourth, lost in the semis to unseeded Clemson teammate Richard Matuszewskiz, the eventrual champ.

Also in that '85 tourney, Rudeen's longtime doubles partner on the pro circuit, unseeded Karl Richter scored a 6-4, 6-3 first-round win over an about-to-turn 15 youngster named Andre Agassi.

The teen phenom immediately launched a handful of rackets at the back fence of the Sioux Racquet Club and bolted the scene, on the way eventuallly to two Wimbledon titles and a place among the sports'

greatest players.

His long hair color was surrealistic at time. Now he has no hair.

More soccer (subhead)

Award-winning Chicago Tribune columnist Mike Royko once suggested soccer could be improved by not using a ball and instead wrapping a dog in an inflatable bag (with the legs) free.

That way, excitement could be greatened by the dog running faster and away from players.

Oh, the merriment. And there was some part of Royko's tongue in his cheek.

More hoops (subhead)

The University of Iowa has lost out in the recruiting duel for the state's best player, D.J. Carton, a senior-to-be from Bettendorf.

Carton will supposedly play at Ohio State for who knows how long.

There's the early entry for the NBA drafft.

And, you've got that tricky transfer rule that allows collegians to be nothing more than athletic vagabonds.

These days you don't need to enter military service to see the country or world Just go to college, practice you craft, let the books gather dust and wait.


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