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NAVRATILOVA CHANGES ATTITUDE FOR NEW YORK TOURNAMENT
The Miami Herald
Wednesday, March 23, 1983
From Herald Wire Services
Although she played 93 matches last year, Martina Navratilova has no problem remembering the agonizing details of all her losses.
That's because she lost only three times, and two of them came in New York. What's more, both of those defeats, by Sylvia Hanika and Pam Shriver, came after she breezed through the opening set, 6-1.
Still, she has no fear returning to New York for today's start of a $350,000 championship bringing together the top 15 women in the world, plus Evonne Goolagong Cawley, who was given a wild-card entry.
The tournament, carrying a top prize of $80,000, is known as the Virginia Slims Championships of New York.
"I've also won here before and I've won in the Garden twice," said Navratilova, who plays her first match Thursday night against Hana Mandlikova. "I can't be psyched out about a tournament. It's the same players, the same lighting, the same carpet. There's no more reason to lose here than in China or anywhere else.
"Last year you guys [the media] gave me the trophy and the money [before she lost in the final to Hanika]. I'm not going to let you do it this time. Last year I was trying to make sure I didn't lose instead of trying to make sure that I won, and I won't do that again."
Navratilova hasn't come close to losing in 1983. She's played in five tournaments, including an exhibition in Los Angeles. Not only has she won all 24 of her matches, she has yet to drop a set.
She already holds two decisions this year over Chris Evert Lloyd, ranked second in the world and seeded second here. Evert had the flu earlier this week.
"I know I'm playing as well as I ever played," said Navratilova, whose career earnings exceed $5 million. "My results speak of that. I'm hitting the ball better, and I know what I'm doing on the court. There's no reason for me not to be confident."
"She has so much confidence now that a lot of girls are psyched out when they get on the court," Tracy Austin said. "They don't believe they can win, and that helps her. But nobody is ever unbeatable."
Mandlikova, her first-round opponent, added, "Against her, everything is confidence. Some players, before they go in a match, are afraid they're going to lose. That's not the right attitude."
Navratilova sometimes can sense the intimidation.
"I am playing better, and everyone knows it," she said. "Maybe the others put extra pressure on themselves to make the best shot, and because of that they'll make a mistake. That's where intimidation comes in."
Hanika, the left-handed West German, who upset Navratilova in the final at Madison Square Garden last year, opens play against Kathy Rinaldi at 6 p.m. Wednesday, followed by Austin against Virginia Ruzici, Evert-Zina Garrison and Bettina Bunge- Bonnie Gadusek.
Wendy Turnbull, winner of a tournament in Boston Sunday, faces Barbara Potter starting at 10 a.m. Thursday, followed by Shriver-Goolagong and the winner of the Austin-Ruzici match against the Rinaldi-Hanika winner.
Billie Jean King will face No. 3 seed Andrea Jaeger for the first time in her career at 6 p.m. Thursday, followed by Navratilova against Mandlikova and then the Evert-Garrison winner against the survivor of Bunge-Gadusek.
Jaeger, who pulled out of last week's tournament in Boston with injuries to her Achilles tendon and knee, said she is feeling much better now.
Thomas Hogstedt, a 19-year-old Swede who emerged from qualifying rounds, upset fifth-seeded American Steve Denton in a first-round match of the $365,000 Cuore Tennis Cup Tuesday at Milan.
Hogstedt needed two hours and 28 minutes, three sets and two tie-breakers to score an unexpected 7-6, 3-6, 7-6 victory over Denton. In winning, he gained a berth in the second round at Milan's indoor Sports Palace.
Hogstedt, who had gone through three elimination matches before qualifying for the 32-player tournament of the Grand Prix circuit, showed a precise serve, powerful two-hand backhand passing shots and was tough in the crucial moments of the match.
The 26-year-old Denton is 13th in the world rankings.
Hogstedt, the 1981 U.S. Open junior champion at Flushing Meadows, N.Y., won the first set tie-breaker, 8-6.
In the third-set tiebreaker, Denton built a 5-2 lead. The young Swede then scored five straight points to win the tie- breaker, 7-5, the set and the match. In the second round, he will play Brazilian Marcos Hocevar.
In the exhausting third set, Denton and the Swede exchanged shots for 58 minutes.
In other first-round matches, South African Kevin Curren, 25, defeated Paul McNamee, a 28-year-old Australian, 6-4, 7-5, and Czechoslovakian Tomas Smid ousted American Fritz Buehning, 6-4, 6-0, in 49 minutes. Both Smid and the 23-year-old Buehning, were unseeded.