- The Washington Times - Monday, June 26, 2000

Mayor Anthony A. Williams' mother, Virginia Hayes Williams, did her best to hush things up as she sat on a lawn chair on the patio of Argentine Ambassador Guillermo Gonzalez's Dupont Circle residence Friday night.

"Don't even bring it up; don't mention it," she said, shaking her head in mock disgust at mention of her son's much-publicized antics at last year's party before the Celebrity Tennis Round Robin, when the mayor took a fully clothed dive into the swimming pool on one of the hottest nights of the year.

But there was no chance of keeping quiet on the matter after the doors opened to members of Washington's VIP tennis set, including Sen. Byron L. Dorgan, Rep. Thomas J. Bliley Jr., National Association of Manufacturers chief Jerry Jasinowski, the American Enterprise Institute's Ben Wattenberg and Norm Ornstein and Roll Call's Morton Kondracke.

Even the breathtaking beauty of tennis star Gabriela Sabatini didn't divert guests from clamoring for a mayoral encore performance.

"The big question, I know, is, 'Will he jump into the pool?'" said tournament director and veteran Washington tennis coach Kathy Kemper, who got the blame for giving Mr. Williams his "Cannonball" moniker.

D.H. Blair Investment Banking Corp.'s Morty Davis said the decision ought to be taken out of the mayor's hands.

"He won't have any choice in the matter if we throw him in," he said, eyeing the mayor with an evil grin.

But alas, this year the pool was left to the younger set Mr. Dorgan's son Brendan and Ms. Kemper's children, Christina and Kelsey, among others when the mayor begged off.

"I'm kind of out to lunch. I went to two events before this," he said, asking for a timeout this year on grounds of exhaustion.

Mr. Williams wasn't, however, too tired to present the charismatic Miss Sabatini with a key to the city (only the second he has given, with first honors going to Archbishop Desmond Tutu).

That was before guests turned to the buffet to fill their plates with the very finest Argentine beef and sausages all hot off a nearby grill.

Ms. Kemper warned guests not to indulge too heavily in the premium Argentine wines so they would be in top form for play Saturday afternoon at Congressional Country Club. Those still standing at tournament's end were White House economic policy adviser Gene Sperling and journalist Steve Roberts, who handily defeated NBC's Bob Okun and ABC's John Martin 6-3.

Mr. Sperling proved to be a winner twice that day when he and Venturehouse Group Chief Executive Officer Mark Ein were among those who got to enjoy a post-match dinner with Miss Sabatini at Cafe Milano. The midnight hour found both still in deep conversation with the tennis star at a table that included Donald and Carol Dell; Ms. Kemper's husband, Jim Valentine; and Miss Sabatini's mother, Beatriz.

But tennis takes stamina, and Miss Sabatini was ready again on Sunday afternoon for a few more rounds at the White House with Mr. Sperling, Ms. Kemper and former Argentine Ambassador Diego Ramiro Guelar, who flew in from his new job as secretary of state for Buenos Aires province to chair the event that raised $35,000 for the Institute for Education's cultural, educational and health awareness programs for children.

Mr. Guelar, ever mindful of his country's culinary offerings, jokingly called Friday evening's fete "a fertility rite," claiming that the free-range, hormone-free beef raised on his country's pampas is considered an aphrodisiac.

"Actually, it's even better than a fertility rite," he said later "There's no need to produce anything."

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