After going to a Guns N' Roses concert and a ballet, no wonder Steffi looked bored at the Chinese restaurant...
BATES GIVES BRITS A SHOT OF PRIDE AT WIMBLEDON : OTHER NOTES
Scripps Howard News Service
Wednesday, June 24, 1992
During an angry tirade over a penalty he received last week in a grass tournament, England's Jeremy Bates threatened to retire.
That prompted one British reporter to write that Bates' threat reminded him of the time someone was told that Calvin Coolidge had died and replied, ''How can you tell?"
So it has been with Bates' ho-hum tennis career. He's Britain's best, but the world's 113th. And all too often, he doesn't do much on the court. So if he retired, how could you tell?
Nevertheless, on Tuesday, he gave his homeland a rare chance to celebrate at Wimbledon with a 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 over seventh-seeded American Michael Chang.
"I'm delighted," he said. "Everybody in this country knows who Chang is. This is one of the best wins of my career. It's probably the best place to win a match."
But Bates was then peppered with questions about the sorry state of English tennis. No Brit has won men's singles since 1936. The betting odds on one doing it this summer are 1,000 to 1.
Bates has never been ranked higher than 63rd in 10 years as a pro. He admittedly is in an "intense two or three-year push" to salvage his career.
So at first, he tried to downplay the significance of the victory.
"You have to put it in perspective," said Bates. "I've won one match. I'm not putting it down. It's one of the best wins I've ever had, but it's not going to change the face of tennis."
But as questions persisted about English tennis, he finally said in exasperation, "The jokes are usually from the press, not the other players. They can't believe what the press says about us. Can we just do a press conference about my match?"
-- And you thought Andre Agassi was going to stir things up. Not so.
Bryan Shelton, one of the humblest, low-keyed players on the tour, was told to change his clothes prior to Tuesday's match with Kevin Curren because they didn't conform to the club's all-white policy. Shelton was wearing light-gray thigh-warmers which extended a few inches below his shorts. As soon as he walked onto the court, he was told to change.
"They actually went and got me some white ones," said Shelton. "I guess they're prepared for everything here."
Shelton didn't think he would be in violation because the tights are so close to white in color. He wore white ones on Monday, when his match with Curren began. It was suspended because of darkness while tied at two sets each. Shelton finally won the most gruelling duel of the tournament so far, 3-6, 7-6 (7-5), 4-6, 7-6 (7-5), 9-7.
"That match mentally was more tiring than physically," said the former Georgia Tech player. "It was kind of a blessing (that they stopped Monday). My back was beginning to stiffen up. It was good for me to have the break so I could get some rest and treatment. I felt a lot better."
-- Rumors in British papers have said that defending champ Steffi Graf had been teaching Prince William and Prince Harry, the children of Prince Charles and Lady Di. On Tuesday, Graf said that wasn't true, but she wished it were.
"I've never been contacted, but I wish someone would call," she said after a straight-set first-round victory. "I'm ready for it. I'd love to do it."
Graf, a loser in that epic French Open final to Monica Seles last month, seems relaxed and confident as she goes after her fourth Wimbledon title. She attributes her attitude partly to the last two weeks she spent going to shows and concerts in London. Included in what she saw were Guns n' Roses, Prince and the ballet.
-- John McEnroe may not be the player he once was, but he hasn't lost a thing when it comes to dealing with reporters. When asked whether he thought being married might hurt the careers of some players because of the family demands, McEnroe replied, "I'd rather not answer that. It's an absurd question, not worth the paper you're writing on."
-- Pam Shriver, appearing in her 14th Wimbledon , staged one of the day's best comebacks. She lost the first set 6-1 to Elena Brioukhovets of The Commonwealth of Independent States and trailed 3-1 in the second. She recovered to win 11 of the next 12 games and wound up winning the match, 1-6, 6-3, 6-1.
She might not be as fortuate the next time. Her second-round opponent is sixth-seeded Jennifer Capriati, who at 16 is 13 years younger than Shriver.
-- An omen? The last No. 1 seed to win Wimbledon was John McEnroe in 1984. That's also the last time an American won. Are you listening Jim Courier?
-- The first fines have been handed out. American Jim Grabb was hit for $1,000 for his actions during a first-round match, which he lost. Diego Nargiso of Monte Carlo was fined $500. These are just pocket change compared with the $10,000 John McEnroe was given for language last year.