The humorous thing here is that Evert-as-a-TV-commentator was often stuck back in 1985/early 1986 when it came to Steffi, like some aunt who just won't grasp that you're not a kid anymore. ("She's been working on her new topspin backhand...") We also see early evidence of Bruce Jenkins' problem of not understanding Steffi. And Martina remains convinced that she plays tennis the "one, true way."
Evert Predicts Upset of Navratilova - WIMBLEDON NOTEBOOK
THE SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
Wednesday, June 22, 1988
Wimbledon, England - For perhaps the first time in her life, Chris Evert looks forward to her post-match press conferences. She runs into a lot of old friends there, people who gently kid her about her age, her never-ending career, and her curious status as a Wimbledon underdog.
It has become fun for Evert, who played her 100th match at Wimbledon yesterday, but we haven't seen the last of this steel-nerved champion quite yet. "I definitely see an upset among the top two players," she said yesterday. "And I don't see it being Steffi Graf."
In other words, Evert is plotting an upset of eight-time champion Martina Navratilova before the much-anticipated Graf-Martina final can take place.
"There is definitely a gap between those two and the rest of us," Evert said, "but I had a good match with Martina last year (a three-set semifinal that many called the best of their long rivalry), and I'm 2-0 against her this year. You just don't know."
Evert's comments spiced up a pretty routine day on the women's side. It was Navratilova 6-1, 6-2 over Sabrina Goles of Yugoslavia; Gabriela Sabatini 6-2, 6-2 over Carling Bassett Seguso; Evert 6-1, 6-2 over Alexia Dechaume of France, and Graf 6-0, 6-0 over Na Hu (the Chinese defector who has always been known as Hu Na, but she's now saying people had it wrong and should know the correct version).
It was an historic victory for Martina - her 42nd in a row at Wimbledon, breaking Bjorn Borg's post-war record of 41 (1977-81). "I feel ready to win again, and I think I'm a heck of a bet," she said. "I know I'd put money on me." (The odds list Martina at 13-8, with Graf favored at 8-13.)
A British male writer asked Martina whether, under new coach Tim Gullikson, she "hoped to play more like a man."
"I play tennis the way it should be played, man or woman," she said. "(Sadistic laugh) You chauvinist."
Evert's latest practice partner is a formidable opponent, too - none other than Graf. "I always practiced against a lefty (simulating Navratilova), and that's not beneficial," said Chris. "Against Steffi, I can assess her game, and get a pretty good idea where mine is. I'm just amazed how she shot up and grew, got so muscular. I've been impressed with her since she was 15, but she has developed into a wonderful athlete a lot sooner than I thought.
"Jeez . . . she should probably hire me as a PR
agent," said Evert.
It's hard not to like Graf, except perhaps for the tremendous distance she keeps between her personality and the public. Pam Shriver, on the other hand, has always worn every emotion on her sleeve - and sometimes that works against her.
Shriver had an unexpectedly tough first-round battle yesterday before outlasting Dinky van Rensburg of South Africa, 6-2, 4-6, 8-6. "I don't think that's anything to jump up and down about, beating Dinky 8-6 in the third," cracked Shriver.
"Come to think of it, my last three wins at Wimbledon were 10-8, 10-8 and 8-6. Maybe it's something I enjoy."
Tiburon's Elly Hakami earned the right to play Navratilova with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Kathy Horvath . . . Triumphant ex-Stanford players included Patty Fendick, 6-2, 6-3 over Camille Benjamin, and Derrick Rostagno, 6-0, 6-3, 7-5 over Jaime Yzaga of Peru. But Dan Goldie suffered his third straight first-round loss, this time 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 to Jakob Hlasek of Switzerland; Elise Burgin was trounced by Belinda Cordwell of New Zealand, 6-4, 6-3, and Marianne Werdel fell to Jo Durie of Great Britain, 6-4, 6-2 . . . Ann Henricksson of Mill Valley defeated Beth Herr of Dayton, 6-3, 6-2 . . . The first-round matches featuring Heather Ludloff (Foster City) and Peanut Louie Harper (San Francisco) were postponed because of darkness.
Only one men's seed has been knocked out so far: No. 14 Andre Chesnokov of the Soviet Union, by Udo Riglewski of West Germany, 7-5, 6-4, 6-4, yesterday . . . Peter Doohan, conqueror of Boris Becker last year, suffered a first-round loss to Ken Flach, 7-5, 7-6, 6-3, and 1985 finalist Kevin Curren, troubled by an ankle sprain that required re-taping during the match, was knocked off by Ricardo Acuna of Chile, 7-6, 6-7, 7-6, 6-4.
Claude Kohde-Kilsch, the No. 11 women's seed, was forced to withdraw with a badly strained tendon in her left knee . . . John McEnroe said it was a "nice gesture" for the Wimbledon committee to seed him eighth, when strict rankings would have seeded him 14th. "But it only makes sense," McEnroe said. "Tournaments should set the seedings based on the surface, who has the best chance to win - not the rankings." In the opinion of many, Wimbledon should have carried through with its idea. The notion of Becker playing Pat Cash as early as the quarterfinals doesn't make much sense.