KRAJICEK KNOCKS THE WOMEN BEFORE LOSING IN 5-SET UPSET
Daily News of Los Angeles
Saturday, June 27, 1992
Steve Wilstein, Associated Press
Once the citadel of civility, Wimbledon turned into a trough of abuse Friday. Grunts yielded to insults and thoughtfulness gave way to threats, starting with one man's opinion that "80 percent of the top 100 women are lazy, fat pigs" who shouldn't be allowed on Centre Court.
That indiscreet fellow, 11th-seeded Richard Krajicek - a 4-6, 7-6 (8-6), 3-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-2 loser to Arnaud Boetsch - later apologized, sort of, for his self-described "stupid statement."
"What I meant to say, actually, is only 75 percent," he said. "A lot of women are overweight."
Responded Martina Navratilova, perhaps only partly in jest: "I'm going to beat him up."
There really were some marvelous moments amid all the mud-slinging.
Navratilova made the shot of the tournament, a round-the-back volley winner at break point and 5-5 in the first set that sapped the spirit from Barbara Rittner and led to a 7-5, 6-1, third-round win.
"I've hit those before, but I don't think I've ever hit one at a better time," said Navratilova, seeking her 10th Wimbledon title. "I was on the skids at that point."
Rittner, stunned by the trick shot after blasting a forehand straight at Navratilova from about 15 feet away, called the volley simply ''unbelievable."
"The whole match just turned around," Rittner said.
Ivan Lendl, frustrated in a dozen Wimbledons and falling fast in the rankings this year, served 21 aces to win a five-setter against Sandon Stolle, son of three-time Wimbledon finalist Fred Stolle.
Defending champions Michael Stich, two-time champion Stefan Edberg, Pete Sampras and Goran Ivanisevic all swept into the round of 16 with straight-set victories, as did women's top seed Monica Seles.
All looked like potential champions, especially Sampras, the 1990 U.S. Open winner.
"I was more or less in the zone, so to speak, for just about all of the match," he said after beating Scott Davis, 6-1, 6-0, 6-2.
Five seeded players lost, including No. 7 Mary Joe Fernandez, who injured her right hip against Amy Frazier, and No. 10 Anke Huber. Among the men's seeds who lost was No. 13 Brad Gilbert.
Tennis aside - and it seemed to be for much of the day - Navratilova led the chorus of women's protests about Krajicek's comments.
Seles, criticized in the British tabloids about her widening bottom and incessant grunts, declined to talk about anything except her 6-4, 6-1 victory over Laura Gildemeister.
Navratilova knew Krajicek couldn't be talking about her - "My body fat is lower than his" - but she acknowledged that some of her colleagues really are fat "as are some of the men's players."
"I see some pot bellies out there, but that doesn't make you a great player or a lazy player. You get some baseball players who look like they drink beer all day long, but they hit home runs."
Rittner, one of the more full-figured women on the tour, took particular exception to Krajicek's remarks.
"I can only answer that with a question: Have you ever seen women in the last two years defaulting in a semifinal?" she said, recalling Krajicek's pullout from the Australian Open because of a shoulder injury before his semifinal against Jim Courier.
"It's really stupid of him. I can't accept it."
Frenchwoman Nathalie Tauziat, taking delight in Krajicek's five-set defeat against France's Arnaud Boetsch, called the Dutchman's comments simply ''ridiculous."
Krajicek, a skinny, 6-foot-4, 20-year-old with a touch of baby fat in his face, said he was sorry.
He had no regrets, though, about the point of his remark, that women should not get equal pay for unequal play, because they compete in best-of-three matches instead of best-of-fives as the men do. He also insisted that fans want to see the men's matches more and that most women's matches should be taken off the show courts.
"I'm just trying to make the point that they are complaining all the time that they are not getting equal prize money, and they keep pressing it," he said. "I think that they should just be happy with what they are making. We are not asking for more and more at this time."
It's an old and sensitive argument - Wimbledon allocates about $3.7 million to the men's singles and doubles pools, and about $3 million to the women's. The men's singles champion here makes about $500,000, while the women's champion gets about $50,000 less.
The pay also is unequal at the French Open, but at both the U.S. and the Australian Opens the men and women earn the same amounts.
Many of the men's players, including John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors and Pat Cash, have long agreed with Krajicek that the men are a bigger draw for the Grand Slams and should be compensated with larger purses.
Wimbledon is conducting a survey that includes questions about the relative popularity of men's and women's tennis, and that could have an effect on pay parity.
Gerard Smith, executive director of the Women's Tennis Association, said he didn't want to dignify Krajicek's remarks by commenting on them.
But Navratilova, former WTA president, didn't hesitate to respond.
"There have been conversations regarding equal prize money . . . and the biggest argument supposedly for that is men would require higher prices on the 'white market' than the women's matches," she said. "The same with the ratings. Supposedly, TV would be wanting to pay more for men than women's tennis. But when you look over the last 10 years, and look at the ratings in the finals, women have done equally as well as the men.
"The only reason this tournament is so big is because both the men and women play. That's why the Grand Slams are so special and bring in all the attention. That is what makes the tournament, and that's why it should be an equal contribution."
WIMBLEDON AT A GLANCE
Highlights of Friday's play, the fifth day of the $8.2 million Wimbledon championships:
Men's results: No. 2 Stefan Edberg defeated Grant Stafford, 6-1, 6-0, 6-2; No. 3 Michael Stich defeated Magnus Larsson, 6-4, 6-1, 6-3; No. 5 Pete Sampras defeated Scott Davis, 6-1, 6-0, 6-2; No. 8 Goran Ivanisevic defeated Marc Rosset, 7-6 (7-4), 6-4, 6-4; and No. 10 Ivan Lendl defeated Sandon Stolle, 6-3, 1-6, 2-6, 6-3, 7-5.
Women's results: No. 1 Monica Seles defeated Laura Gildemeister, 6-4, 6-1, and No. 4 Martina Navratilova defeated Barbara Rittner, 7-5, 6-1.
Upsets: For the men, Arnaud Boetsch beat No. 11 Richard Krajicek, 4-6, 7-6 (8-6), 3-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-2, and Wally Masur defeated No. 13 Brad Gilbert, 6-3, 6-7 (2-7), 6-7 (5-7), 6-4, 6-2. For the women, Amy Frazier downed No. 7 Mary Joe Fernandez, 6-3, 6-3 and Yayuk Basuki defeated No. 10 Anke Huber, 6-2, 6-3.
Stat of the day: Goran Ivanisevic and Marc Rosset combined for 37 aces - 22 by Ivanisevic - in their third-round match.
Quote of the day: "Eighty percent of the top 100 women are lazy, fat pigs." - Krajicek, of the Netherlands, on women players and the equal-pay question.