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Re: 1987

RICH HISTORY, RACY HEADLINES, GREAT TENNIS
Philadelphia Daily News
June 22, 1987
RICH HOFMANN, Daily News Sports Writer

"If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same."

- Rudyard Kipling

Those are the last words a player reads on his or her way to Centre Court.

They hang over the doorway through which the players pass on the way to the world's most famous tennis court. They sum up, very neatly, everything for which the members of The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club stand. They harken back to a time when men were men, when war was glorious, when afternoon tea was a must, and when sport was merely an avocation (being rich was the only true vocation).

So the players wear predominantly white clothes here. And they are referred to formally, as Mr. J.S. Connors and Mrs. J.M. Lloyd (oops, it's back to Miss C.M. Evert). And they still play on grass, a surface that not only is anachronistic, but impossible to maintain properly during two weeks of championship play.

Wimbledon is all of those things, all of those values from days gone by, all of those wonderful notions that people love to muse about while nursing a pint of bitter on the Tea Lawn.

But there is reality here, too. Britannia no longer rules the waves, and that pint of bitter on the Tea Lawn will cost you plenty. Maybe the real success of this place is that the reality is so well-disguised, but the reality is here, make no mistake.

There is the advertising that adorns that predominantly white clothing worn by the players. There are the corporate tents that dot the adjoining landscape, entertaining the rich and paying fees to the tournament organizers.

And, finally, there are the players, the players whose on-court struggles - this year, there are some wonderful story lines - must compete in London's explicit tabloids with a daily recitation of the intimate details of their personal lives. One headline to chew on, from last week's Mirror: "Bonkin' Boris vs. Lusty Lendl."

(By the way, bonkin' means exactly what you think it means, if you think dirty.)

That, all of that, is Wimbledon.

Now, about those story lines. There are four big ones. Let's take them, player by player.

* Martina Navratilova: Hers is easily the most compelling story. She is a seven-time Wimbledon champion, including the last five years. One more victory would tie her for the all-time record, held by Helen Wills Moody. But Navratilova is 30 now and she is more than willing to talk about how her confidence has been shattered by a season of defeat, defeat, defeat - shattered mostly by the emergence of 18-year-old Steffi Graf, of West Germany.

In the last several months, Navratilova has changed rackets - to the same one Graf uses. She brought in one of her old tactical coaches - Dr. Renee Richards. But in the final of the French Open, Navratilova double-faulted away the point that gave the tournament to Graf.

Then last week - at the Eastbourne tournament, the major grass tuneup for women, a tournament that Navratilova had won six times - she was ahead of Czechoslovakia's Helena Sukova by 5-0 in the first set. Then, collapse. Navratilova ended up losing in straight sets, and trying to be brave.

"At this point, I think it's going to take an Act of Congress for me to win a tournament, but what the hell," Navratilova said, after Eastbourne. ''But I'm not done yet. I haven't won a tournament this year, but I'm not done yet."

The sight of Navratilova either crumbling or overcoming should be fascinating.

* Ivan Lendl: He is No. 1 in the men's tennis world, but No. 2 here, behind two-time champion Boris Becker. Lendl desperately wants to win here, desperately wants to win a major championship on grass. He has won $11 million in his career, but he has not won on the lawns here.

The man is driven. He has spent months on a weightlifting routine to become stronger. Why? Because he said Becker looked stronger than he did last year in the Wimbledon final. Lendl is making moves now specifically for Becker, like the Celtics and Sixers used to do for each other.

"The way I see Boris and myself at present," Lendl said, "is that I am favorite on clay and he is favorite on grass. Indoors or on hard courts, I have a small edge. Boris is rightly No. 1 seed for Wimbledon on his record here. But I still think I can win it even if it takes me 10 attempts . . .

"I would not like anything more than to win Wimbledon," Lendl said.

And to beat Becker.

* Steffi Graf: The computer that the tennis world uses to rank its players says that Graf is No. 2, behind Navratilova. But the facts say that Graf is No. 1 right now. A win this year at Wimbledon might signal that she will be No. 1 for a long time.

She is not the most outgoing player on the circuit (her hobby, believe it or not, is said to be collecting shorts). And she is not cover-girl pretty (not like, say, Argentina's Gabriela Sabatini). But Graf is simply the best right now. She has all the strokes. Her forehand is seen as about the best in the women's game. Her serve, according to Pam Shriver, is the most improved shot in the women's game. The backhand is the weakness, but it is not bad.

The only question is the surface. Navratilova has ruled the grass; Graf has avoided it. The last time Graf played at Wimbledon was in 1985, when she lost to Shriver. She didn't play a grass tuneup tournament this year, preferring to practice in isolation after her victory in the French.

"If Martina played Graf on grass and they played the same way as in Paris, Martina would take her apart," said Shriver, who is Navratilova's longtime doubles partner and a dark horse here. "Martina is the player to beat, for sure. She's at home (at Wimbledon). She's comfortable."

We'll see.

* Boris Becker: When you win your first Wimbledon at age 17, and your second Wimbledon at age 18, what do you do at age 19?

Hat trick?

Why not?

His victory is almost being conceded by most people here. In fact, all anyone has written about in the tabloids has been the decision by Becker's manager, Ion Tiriac, to force Becker to save his energy by sending away his girlfriend, Benedicte Courtin.

That aside . . .

"Me nervous? Hell no," Becker said. "But I am excited. In fact, I am so excited while I wait to play that I find it hard to even stand still for a second. I want to play and please the crowd. It is the most enjoyable two weeks of the year for me. If there is pressure, I don't feel it."

If that is true, then the rest of the field is in trouble.

Along the way, though, there will be upsets. There will be controversies (even when you figure in that John McEnroe and his bad back won't be making an appearance this year).

And there will be excellent tennis in the most gracious setting that a decidedly ungracious world can create.

That's Wimbledon.
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Re: 1987

Graf, Navratilova the picture of opposites as tourney begins
Star Tribune: Newspaper of the Twin Cities
June 22, 1987
Jerry Zgoda; Staff Writer

Worry? Why should Steffi Graf worry about Wimbledon, even though she hasn't played on grass in two years?

"I haven't lost this year - why should there be pressure?" she said.

No reason at all. This year Graf is 39-for-39 in matches and 7-for-7 in tournaments, including her first Grand Slam victory at the French Open this month. She is seeded second to five-time defending champion Martina Navratilova, who is favored to win her eighth Wimbledon singles title, but you wouldn't know that from their statements in the days preceding today's opening matches.

Graf, 18, has been the confident one; Navratilova has begun to question herself, especially after losing to Helena Sukova in Saturday's final in Eastbourne, England. Navratilova has not won a title in six tournaments this year.

"Right now, I'm not feeling too confident," she said Saturday. "I blew it. I've found a lot of ways to lose matches this year. I just hope I've found them all. I'm getting very disappointed in myself; I'm falling apart. It's all emotional. There's nothing wrong technically. . . . I think I'm still the favorite."

Both Graf and Navratilova are not scheduled to play their first-round matches until Tuesday.

Defending men's champion Boris Becker will open play on Centre Court today against Karel Novacek.

Last year's tournament was delayed once by rain, on the first day, and most of the two weeks were played in sunshine and 90-degree temperatures. This year could be almost opposite. London has received a record rainfall for June and highs have been in the high 50s and low 60s. The courts were covered and not available for practice play yesterday after another downpour Saturday evening.
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Re: 1987

BE PREPARED FOR A BIZARRE WIMBLEDON
The Miami Herald
June 22, 1987
EDWIN POPE, Herald Sports Editor

It's business as usual in the mother country as the All-England Club sets out on its second century of tennis today.

Business as usual in England is chaos carried to the infinite.

Firemen in Birmingham accidentally set fire to their own station house. They left potatoes frying when they rushed out on a call. Nearby housewives spotted smoke pouring out of the station. Firemen from another village had to wet down the blaze. "All very embarrassing," said Fire Officer Bob Skellern.

Dull old land, eh?

Prince Charles pitched a fit when Princess Di sat herself on the hood of his precious Aston-Martin. He then pranged it up himself while hurrying up to a polo match.

Commoners match royalty gaffe for gaffe. One of the six finalists for England's Dad of the Year was revealed to be the father of a son by a woman definitely not his wife.

The normal is the abnormal among people of whom an ancient Turkish proverb says, "An Englishman will burn his bed to catch a flea." London particularly has gone so wacko it makes New York City look like Andy Griffith country.

Only four things really work here -- royalty, pubs, subways and Wimbledon. And the tournament starting today is lining up as bizarrely, at least on the women's side, as any yet.

Seven-time Wimbledon champion Martina Navratilova has lost six straight tournaments. She's so desperate she has switched coaches, from Mike Estep back to Renee Richards, and is even trying a different brand racket from the one that brings her nearly $400,000 a year in endorsement loot. Yet Martina is still favored to win Wimbo over Steffi Graf, who steams in seven for seven in tournaments.

Chris Evert bombed out in the semis at Eastbourne last week, and the wife of Andy Mill, Chrissie's new escort, is packaging her indignation for a London tabloid.

Chrissie, 31, didn't have enough troubles before Eastbourne. Then, when she stood just two points from beating Helena Sukova, a brass band struck up down the street. The crowd began to snicker. Even Chris giggled when umpire Janet Jones intoned, "Quiet, please. I know I can't stop the band, but I'm talking about the spectators."

Didn't help. Now, Chrissie, still the darling of Brit fans, has to pick it up after winning just one of the past nine Wimbledons. "After 15 years on tour, I'm finding myself in and out of matches," Chrissie says, "and if that continues, the writing will be on the wall for me." In British slang, she is "brassed off."

So what else is new in a city of 6.7 million people who pour 2.7 billion pints of beer and ale down their necks every year?

Well, Prime Minister Margaret stamps around in a snit over Junior Health Minister Edwina Currie's remarks about Maggie's sex life.

Howard Kendall, England's most successful soccer coach, is off to Spain and a new $350,000-a-year job with Athletico Bilbao because fans here made his family's life so miserable when his Everton team fell on hard times.

The whole place is a zoo -- more so now for the ever larger hordes of tourists frightened off the continent by terrorism. London's hair-raising traffic is Havana's old Malecon of 20 years ago all over again. You take a chockablock train 45 minutes to Victoria Station from Gatwick Airport, then wait up to an hour for a cab at Victoria.

But the museums and monuments stand majestically unmoved. Workmen are even scrubbing nine centuries of grime off Westminster Abbey. London is as magnificent in all the old ways as it was more than 200 years ago when Dr. Samuel Johnson said, "When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life, for there is in London all that life can afford."

It just gets a little squiffier all the time.

Thieves stole the garden out of the suburban yard of John and Sheila Preston the other night. The botanical bandits silently dug up apple trees, shrubs, rose bushes, the works. "We've done a lot of spadework," said a police spokesman, "but we can't get to the roots of this one."

You develop a certain sense of humor when you've been through two huge fires, a plague and a bombing blitz.

All things considered, do you imagine Wimbledon will miss John McEnroe the tiniest bit?
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Re: 1987

Headline unavailable
USA TODAY
June 22, 1987
SHELBY STROTHER, Gannett News Service

WIMBLEDON, England - I see why this forthcoming fortnight of tennis is so highly ranked that it falls just short of a religious experience.

This is vintage England, mint condition, unadulterated. Clogged with tradition, the perfect opportunity for pomp and circumstance, for strutting about, for acting stodgy and generally preserving the notion that at least on a fancy meadow for two weeks outside of London, there will always be an England.

It wasn't so long ago the English used to play matches here wearing long flannel pants. Imagine, flannel pants in the summertime. This tradition no doubt led to some outrageous instances of prickly heat, from which surely originated the quite British posture known as the stiff upper lip.

Wimbledon will not change.

We colonists have this annoying way of Americanizing anything we can get our hands on. We would love to turn Wimbledon into just another theme park. We would love to see some fans, maybe the Queen Mother herself, show up for the matches with a painted face fashioned into a Union Jack.

But it will never happen. The American Way can saturate England with Run DMC babble, commandeer England with reruns of Dallas and Gilligan's Island. But Wimbledon will, as they say, stay the bloody same.

It was more than a decade ago when the feisty little kid in the bandana - name was McEnroe - put the American Way into play. Cruder than Ilie Nastase, angrier than Pancho Gonzales, Johnny Mac tested decorum severely. When he decided to partake of the traditional strawberries and cream without use of the traditional spoon or fork, a legend was born. That the legend grew to rival those of Jack the Ripper and the bubonic plague was the result of hard and sustained work by the American phenomenon who came to be known simply as McBrat.

But tradition has prevailed. McEnroe, who missed last year's festivities because of paternity leave, has sent his regrets once more, claiming injury, apathy or some excuse that was instantaneously accepted throughout the Commonwealth.

Today, the Germans rule the world, at least that part of it pertaining to tennis. Boris Becker, should he win the men's singles title, would then have three such mementos, and he's not yet 20. Countrywoman Steffi Graf is simply the best woman player playing.

Yet methinks the old tournament can allow one final gesture of goodwill. Allow Ms. Evert one final curtsy of glory. One final Silver thingamabob to hoist over her sweaty head. One final smile.

As for the men, Chrissie's old flame, Jimmy Connors, is still haunting the grounds. He's once more the top-seeded American at Wimbledon, although that speaks more about the decline and fall of the U.S. Empire than any miracle resurrection by Jimbo. No - Becker's too good on grass. Read that as his serve is too hard to return. Besides, only one wish per fortnight.

When my first day in England was over the hump and the sunburst sky began losing its color and turning to a more recognizable gray, two natives let me know the difference between Wimbledon and the surrounding village of London.

First there was this voice in an alley. It sounded like Judy Carne, but wound up looking like Monty Python.

"Would you be wantin' a bit o' company tonight, Luv?"

The world's oldest profession was on the job. The offer threw me back nonetheless. Respectfully declining, I continued my walk around jolly old England.

I later was stopped by the gentle paw of an old man in distress.

"I need a drink," he said, rubbing a hand over his mouth to accentuate his obvious thirst. "What say you and I have a couple?"

Trying to avoid another street-side improvisation of the Ugly American, I said, "I don't drink with people I don't know."

"The name's Stan."

The old fella needed a lot more than a drink. A shave, a bath, a toothbrush, a long nap came immediately to mind. "I'm not a bum, you know. I'm a man of letters. A writer."

"Hey, me, too."

His eyes lit up, cleared, focused. I expected him to talk about Shakespeare. The Bard. He wanted to talk about the Fridge.

"He's a football player."

"I've heard of him. Listen, I have to go."

"In that case, could you spot me a few so I can get that drink anyway?"

I relented, reached into my pocket, pulled out two dollar bills and handed them to him.

He squinted and said, "Aincha got real money?"

I rescinded my offer and began to stomp away.

"In that case, I'll be going down the tubes soon."

Not knowing that was a British colloquialism for the subway train, I irreverently responded, "Ain't we all?"
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Re: 1987

DENIZENS OF FLEET STREET UNSHEATHE POISON PENS
The Orlando Sentinel
June 22, 1987
By Melissa Isaacson of The Sentinel Staff

If the top tennis players in the world are smart this infamous fortnight, they will sequester themselves in private housing, tune in their favorite BBC channel on the telly, and maybe, just maybe, sneak out occasionally to practice -- wearing false noses and glasses, of course.

Participating in this spectacle that is Wimbledon is as much playing as it is surviving.

Today begins the third leg of tennis' Grand Slam, and the Fleet Streeters are at it again:

The women players seem to be favorite targets for the tabloids, which willingly put aside their Fergie and Di stories for two weeks of Chris, Carling and Gaby.

''Here Come the Sexiest Sports in Town -- Frilling Sets on Court'' was the headline of one hard-hitting story in Sunday Sport that featured color photos of Chris Evert, Carling Bassett and Gabriela Sabatini -- all action shots that coincidentally caught their tennis skirts in various states of disarray.

''Bring on the serving girls . . .'' wrote the gifted Martyn Bignold, ''and see how glamour-puss tennis stars will guarantee a sexy spectacle for the fellas at Wimbledon.''

Now that's journalism.

Of course, this is the paper that featured Jane Frisby on page five, wearing little more than a tennis racket and claiming that she'll dearly miss John McEnroe this year, who is out with a back injury.

''He's so cute and silly the way he flings his racket about and stamps his pretty little feet,'' cried Jane. ''Personally, I have a much better way to settle tennis tantrums. I just . . .''

Well, you get the idea.

Evert, once the princess of Fleet Street, has fallen out of favor with her separation and then divorce of hometown boy John Lloyd. Chris and her new boyfriend, Andy Mill, were stalked at a London restaurant. The story: The two were practically thrown out for their overly amorous behavior.

Come on, guys. Not even ''allegedly?''

Martina Navratilova had the gall, Saturday, to lose the Eastbourne Championships -- a Wimbledon tuneup tournament -- to Helena Sukova, thereby proving, obviously that her career must be through. Admitting that her problems are more emotional than physical, transformed her into ''the shaken former champ'' in The Mail, while the Sunday Mirror reported: ''Wimbledon wonder woman Martina Navratilova was shaken and stirred into a Martina on the rocks at Eastbourne yesterday.''

Many of the players say they don't read Britain's version of the Fourth Estate. Others, especially those who do not find their tennis skirts on page three, admit to taking a peek once in a while.

''I read the stuff sometimes,'' admitted Claudia Kohde-Kilsch, seeded ninth here, ''but I don't believe it. I can imagine normal people off the street probably do believe it though.''

With McEnroe, probably the favorite target, out of the tournament, the rest of the men have ably, if unwillingly, picked up the slack.

Ivan Lendl, who was humanized by the rest of civilization about a year ago but who remains ''Stone Face'' to the Brits, is also, according to the British press, about as likely to dethrone Boris Becker as Queen Elizabeth is to bestow knighthood on McEnroe.

''Lendl is as unsure and nervous on grass as a boy on his first date,'' according to The News.

For Jimmy Connors, Wimbledon is ''the last throw of the dice.''

Pat Cash, known for his success at Wimbledon (he reached the quarterfinals last year, a month after an appendectomy) was profiled by The People:

''Loony Pat can win it for the brats.''

And they wonder why McEnroe stayed home.
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Re: 1987

Tennis: Romanian undaunted by Lendl challenge
The Times
London, England
June 22, 1987

Christian Saceanu vowed yesterday to give Ivan Lendl, the world No. 1, a run for his money when they meet in the first round of the men's singles at Wimbledon.

The Romanian-born teenager, who came through the qualifying competition at Roehampton this week, features in the first match on the All England Club's No. 1 court today, knowning he has nothing to lose. 'Lendl is the No. 1 but I look at it that he is just another player who has to be beaten and I'm going to give it my best shot,' he said.

Saceanu, who holds a West German passport, has been coached by Gunter Bosch, the man who guided the Wimbledon champion Boris Becker's early development before their split during the Australian championships earlier this year.

Meanwhile, Patrick McEnroe's quest to maintain the family interest at Wimbledon - brother John withdrew this week - ended on Saturday when he and fellow American John Sadri were beaten in four sets by Russell Simpson from New Zealand and Larry Stefanki of the United States.

Officials have placed a ban on questions about tennis players' private lives being asked during post-match interviews. Instead journalists have been ordered to restrict their questions to tennis only. The ban follows stories in the British press yesterday about the off-court relationships of Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert.

The attendance record at Wimbledon is again expected to be broken after last year's all-time high figure of 400,032 for the fortnight, including 39,813 for the first Thursday of the tournament, a record attendance for one day.
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Re: 1987

Tennis: The Championships Wimbledon - Tournament under a cloud of gloom - Weather 'the worst in memory'
The Times
London, England
June 22, 1987
JOHN GOODBODY

Boris Becker, of West Germany, the No. 1 seed and champion for the last two years, will play Karel Novacek, of Czechoslovakia, in today's traditional opening match in the men's singles on Centre Court, amid fears that, the weather will sharply disrupt the world's most celebrated tennis tournament.

Alan Mills, the Wimbledon referee, said yesterday that the first few days of the championships will be 'a test of character for players and officials,' because of the forecast of, at best, unsettled weather and, at worst, heavy rain. 'Players and offocials will be backwards and forwards between the courts and locker rooms.'

Today's weather forecast from the Meteorological Office is for 'some residual light rain or drizzle in the early morning. But as the temperatures climb towards 20 degrees centigrade, this will bring thick clouds and more general rain, bringing the day to a dismal end.'

Tomorrow will be cooler, with intermittent sunny periods and showers. Weather for the rest of the week is also likely to be changeable.

Because of the recent bad weather no grass-court facilities were available yesterday. The 14 practice courts at Aorangi Park are still unusable and Queen's Club's grass courts are closed.

'On Friday evening, 30,000 gallons of water were removed from Aorangi Park courts and they are still soaked. The last three weeks' weather is the worst I can remember in the built-up to Wimbledon,' said Mills.

But the courts themselves at Wimbledon are impeccable. Jim Thorn, the groundsman, has had all 18 courts covered at night, and whenever rain has threatened for the last 10 days.

The Centre and No. 1 courts are below enormous tarpaulin tents with fans blowing beneath them to ensure there is a flow of air to take off the moisture from the grass.

The other 16 courts are covered with reinforced plastic coverings (each costs Pounds 10,500), which have been individually tailored for size. Each one has air blown underneath it, creating a balloon effect.

When I walked on Centre Court beneath the tarpaulin yesterday, the grass was moist but the surface was perfect.

Thorn said: 'The grass is a little too green and the courts will be slow. The recent rain has just made our jobs a little more difficult.'

The first man through the gates aiming for the unreserved standing area on Jacobs, aged 40, an accountant from Feltham, who started the queue at 9:30am yesterday morning with a sleeping bag and polythene sheet.

He has spent part of his annual holiday watching Wimbledon for the last 11 years and has been first through the gates on seven occasions. He usually queues overnight on alternative nights, going home on the other evenings to wash, change his clothes and have a proper sleep.

'There is a tremous camaraderie about the people in the queue. Some of the same faces turn up every year, some from as far away as Canada and New Zealand. The one thing we really want is a decent day,' he said.
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Re: 1987

Umbrellas up for a soggy week at Wimbledon
The Times
London, England
June 22, 1987
A Staff Reporter

Tennis fans planning to attend the opening day of Wimbledon today would be well advised to use public transport and to take an umbrella.

Torrential rain over the past week has turned the car parks into mud baths so the number of spaces will probably have to be reduced considerably, according to Mr Christopher Gorringe, chief executive of the All-England Club. And there are more showers on the way today.

In this torrential month, one of the wettest place in Britain has been Manchester with five inches of rainfall, while even those among the driest, including Stornaway, Aldergrove and Tynemouth, have had about one-and-a-half inches.

The London Weather Centre has predicted a wet Monday likely to be followed by a wet week, so the best hope for the crowds at Wimbledon and for cricket fans hoping to see the test match at Lord's is for intermittent sessions of play.

The forecast shows cloudy, showery weather with occasional sunny spells for today and a similarly unsettled outlook for tomorrow, Wednesday and Thursday.

A cautious hope of more settled weather is held out for Friday and the weekend, but until then there is likely to be rain every day almost everywhere.

But it is not quite as bad as it may seem, as this is not the wettest, dullest or coldest June on record - so far. In London, for instance, there have been three inches of rainfalls this month. That compares with 5 1/2 inches in June 1958, and seven inches in June 1903.

In Manchester, however, the five inches already recorded is only half an inch off the record June figure since records began there in 1942.

Temperatures and hours of sunshine are certainly below average, but not yet in the record-breaking league. In London, there has been an average of four hours sunshine per day so far, comparing badly with the normal June average of seven hours per day. But the current low average would have to drop still further if the June 1909 record of just 105 hours is to be beaten.

According to the London Weather Centre, the reason for the bad weather is the scarcity of spells of high pressure to counteract the steady steam of rain-bearing fronts coming in from the Atlantic.

Weathermen blame a rogue jetstream, at 25,000 feet above the Atlantic which has been too weak to push the bad weather far to the north. Instead, westerly winds have swept the rain over the British Isles and much of Europe and will bring more wet and unsettled weather.

Bookmakers William Hill, who have been offering odds of 33-1, face a Pounds 100,000 payout if rain interrupts or prevents play on the Centre Court at Wimbledon every day of the tournament.
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Re: 1987

Monday Page: They also serve who drive - Driving Wimbledon tennis stars
The Times
London, England
June 22, 1987
MARY WATSON

Wimbledon fortnight begins today, which means the start of a logistical marathon for Pat Edwards and the team of drivers charged with makeing sure that the star players get to the court on time. Mary Watson reports

At 8am today a series of famous people will be picked up outside a number of plush hotels by a string of anonymous women, some of whom will probably lose their hearts, if only temporarily, to at least one of the men over the next fortnight.

All of which is perfectly legitimate and above board, being one of the less well-known rituals associated with the Wimbledon tennis tournament. As with other types of ritual, prayers have been offered up in advance: that no car shall have a puncture twixt W1 and SW19; that no-one shall inherit the trait of the mercurial Ilie Nastase, who tended to oversleep; and that delays caused by motorists scraping alongside to gawk at the stars shall be at a minimum.

Patricia Edwards, who has organized the drivers for 15 years, is in charge of avoiding such dramas; she also hopes the famous player who left his rackets back at the hotel last year will remember them this, thus avoiding a hair-raising trip back through the traffic.

'I said I couldn't see why the player couldn't use someone else's rackets, but everyone was appalled at the idea,' she says.

Edwards will be at the nerve centre of the operation every day at 7:30am, with no hope of leaving again before midnight. Headquarters is a wooden-walled marquee near the centre court, lined with ruched white fabric and swags of emerald green, which emerald chairs and carpet - a far cry from humble beginnings in 1972, using 'a caravan and a cubbyhole. '

She will send her 116 drivers, all but 20 of them women, back and forth like workers bees to the official tournament hotels, practice courts and other places all over London. Including a high proportion of the 600 players, they will chauffeur 1,000 people a day over the next fortnight.

Wearing white jackets, white skirts or trousers and white t-shirts, they will work either of two eight-hour shifts up till midnight, will earn a minimum of Pounds 250 and have the fun of driving top stars - and even seeing some of the tennis.

Edwards takes it all calmly. With her ash-blonde hair, huge grey eyes and stylish clothes she could be mistaken for a glamorous tennis wife or celebrity. Crowds often puch forward when they spot her in an official car and then exclaim: 'Oh, it's no one.'

Her china doll appearance belies a toughness which commands respect among the young drivers 'We'll be instantly dismissed if we let her down badly,' one told me, and Edwards has indeed had to sack several drivers over the years. 'One kept trying to finish early and another reversed into a car which demolished a wall and then went forward into another car.

'Their cargo is very precious and their job a responsible one. It's PR job, too - they must sense when to chat and when to shut up, especially if a player has just lost a match.'

'Yes,' interjected one girl, 'when one player lost he sobbed that his life was ruined and that he wanted his mother. I gently tried to reassure him.'

This year the drivers include students, housewives, models, air hostesses and secretaries. Alison Dixon, who was secretary to Princess Michael for two years, is doing her first Wimbledon. Several good drivers are secretaries but often Edwards finds that those who are used to a sedentary 9-5 job are not as good as those used to odd hours.

The men include a sculptor, a doctor, a dentist on annual leave and an Australian salesman who was a chauffeur at last year's tournament; he enjoyed it so much that he has flown back specially.

'We're not after dolly birds,' Edwards says, 'but they have to look pleasant. Over 40, we look at them very closely indeed. Some are in their early fifties, but you'd never know.

'Applicants have a half hour interview and a three-quarters of an hour driving test, conducted by a school of motoring,' says Edwards. 'Many more failed the test this year; on one day all 14 applicants failed.'

Emergencies usually involve either the players or the cars rather than the drivers, but one year a girl was mugged as she was about to reverse. Two workers on a building site rescued her.

Players are said to be quiet before a match and subdued after it, if they lose. But the winners seldom brag. Drivers all say they are hoping they won't get a certain woman player who invariably says she is going to be sick. Top seeds Navratilova and Becker are unlikely to be passengers; the former, to the surprise of spectators, usually cycles in while Becker comes in his own car.

Everyone is hoping to drive Chris Evert or members of her family because they are always friendly, pleasant and giggly. 'We are sorry McEnroe is not coming,' says Edwards. 'He has not been abusive to us, though many are. Just before going on court he would eat a collosal meal of steak, hamburgers and chips.

'Connors and Nastaste used to enjoy egging on the teenyboppers but Connors has quietened down a lot.'

The girls are not allowed to accept dates with players. 'They all look alike with their suntans, highlighted hair and expensive casual clothes,' said one. 'But most of us have boyfriends and anyway the players are usually too exhausted. They get in the car and say, ''Where can I eat?'' '

Edwards is less than happy that this year, for the first time, the slogan 'Game for Anything' appears on the cars. It does not, she feels, convey the right impression.

'Wimbledon,' she says candidly, 'is something I dread, but it is enormously satisfying to see things running smoothly after five months of planning. And,' adds the woman who for the next couple of weeks will be running the biggest pick-up operation in town, 'it's where I met my husband...'
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post #685 of 686 (permalink) Old Sep 3rd, 2017, 01:18 AM Thread Starter
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Re: 1987

Tennis: A room with the view to greatness
The Times
London, England
June 22, 1987
IAN STAFFORD

Centre Court is now a familiar sight to all tennis enthusiasts, but out of view behind and below the Royal Box, is the unknown territory where the off-court dramas of delight and defeat are played out .. the changing rooms, the waiting room and the short walkway to that most nerve-wracking arena.

Imagine the arrival of Boris Becker, the defending champion, at Wimbledon today. His chauffeur-driven car will take him inside the grounds of the All England Club and drop him at the steps leading to the main building. From there he will walk towards the centre court complex and turn to the door on his left, the Gentlemen's Dressing Room. Passing a photograph of Rod Laver, he will then enter the main dressing room, which is attended full-time by five trainer-masseurs.

The room is not unlike the changing area in any good sports centres, except this one has a small bar equipped with soft drinks and beer. Lockers surround the walls with blank cards waiting to be filled with the name of a player. There is no favouritism in this department.

The only place in Wimbledon where players can get away from each other is in the bath tub, housed in private compartments behind the lockers; there they can float with victory or wallow in defeat. It is in the dressing room, decked by white wash-basins and benches below coat hooks, that the player will test his rackets and limber up.

In contrast, the Ladies' Dressing Room, directly above the men's, resembles a beautician's salon. The room is so secure that very few men have entered it; they include the Frenchman, Jean Borotra, and a blind masseur.

The women's dressing room has pink doors and pink carpets, patterned curtains and small, quaint backless settees. During Wimbledon fortnight, the vanity units and mirrors are bathed in flowers. While the men change next to each other in the middle of their room, the women have the privacy of their own cubicles.

The walk from the dressing rooms to the centre court itself is short. Always accompanied by an attendant, the players see to their right a wall covered by large wooden plaques commemorating all past winners. To their left is a cabinet housing all the trophies. Ahead is a pair of frosted-glass doors. Above the doors is a phrase from Kipling, carved in block capitals into the wood: IF YOU CAN MEET WITH TRIUMPH AND DISASTER AND TREAT THOSE TWO IMPOSTORS JUST THE SAME.

During the early rounds, the players will go onto the Centre Court directly from the dressing rooms, but the finalists will use the players' waiting room found by the exit. It is here that they will sweat and fret and exchange a few strained words. That is about as much as they can do in a room too small to swing a racket. With its brown carpet, bleak silver-framed picture and three pale blue wicker chairs surrounding a tiny wicker table, the room has a purposeful bareness about it. For five minutes, at most, they will be left to themselves here before the doors open.

Before them lies the Centre Court, with the world's television cameras, the Royal Box and 14,000 spectators huddled around a small piece of turf.
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Re: 1987

The Volvo Classic - Wednesday 21st October 1987 - Order Of Play

Court One

Z Garrison USA v K Jordan USA
S Parkhomenko USSR v K Maleeva BUL
B Bunge GER v N Tauziat FR
Z Garrison & L McNeil v I Budarova & A Henricksson
B Bunge & E Burgin v S Parkhomenko & L Savchenko

Court Two

E Burgin USA v R Rajchrtova CZ
S Gomer GB v A Sanchez SP
P Paradis FR v H Sukova CZ
I Demengeot FR v G Sabatini ARG
J Durie & R Fairbank v K Jordan & H Sukova

followed by on the first available court

J Novotna & C Suire v I Demengeot & N Tauziat

Tennis Tipping
Singles (Rank : 18) (High : 1 - 11 weeks)

Titles (13) - 2012 - New Haven, SF - WIMBLEDON, 2013 - Beijing, GB Fed Cup, 2014 - Brisbane, Dubai, Stuttgart, Rome, YEC Singapore, 2015 - Stanford, GB Fed Cup, Antayla, 2016 - Bogota, Olympics, 2017 - Nurnberg, QF - FRENCH OPEN, Milovice, 2018 - Stuttgart
Doubles - (Rank : 2) (High : 1 - 32 weeks)
Titles - (25) - 2010 - Bogota, Bad Gastein, Karuizawa, Montpellier, 2011 - Bogota, Birmingham, Poitiers, Bratislava, 2012 - Opole, 2013 - Bad Gastein, Bertioga, 2014 - WIMBLEDON, Bad Gastein, 2015 - Nottingham, Ortisei, 2016 - Brisbane, Glasgow, St Petersburg, Toyota, 2017 - Contrexeville, Bastad, Stanford, Balatonboglar, Hammamet, 2018 - Eastbourne, Antayla, 2019 - AUSTRALIAN OPEN
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