British standards, Bailey was jolly good England buzzing after near upset

June 25, 1993|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,Staff Writer

WIMBLEDON, England -- England almost went berserk last night.

The country is mired in depression over its sporting fortunes.

The national cricket club lost to Australia in what the Daily Mail called a "gutless and humiliating" game, and the Australians made it worse by suggesting England's team should be relegated to second-class status in world cricket.

The British soccer team lost to the United States two weeks ago and the locals are still calling for the coach's head.

So, last night, when 25-year-old English tennis player Chris Bailey, the 263rd-ranked player in the world, forced 1992 Wimbledon runner-up Goran Ivanisevic to 9-7 in the fifth set, Centre Court was jumping.

Bailey is in his fourth year of recovery from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee. But that didn't stop him from forcing Ivanisevic to the brink of elimination.

Up 6-5 in the fifth, Bailey had match point with Ivanisevic serving. HTC The big-serving Croat aced it on his second serve.

Ivanisevic eventually won, 5-7, 7-6 (7-3), 6-7 (7-3), 6-4, 9-7.

"I have to give it a try," Ivanisevic said of going for the big play on his second serve. "I mean, if you hit slow serve and he hits a great return, then you think, 'Why didn't I go for something big?' If you do double fault -- bad luck, you're out. I was lucky."

He was lucky -- 34 aces worth.

In other words

In a tournament where every day someone is being fined for foul language, cool Stefan Edberg stands as a man apart.

Or does he?

Asked if a certain four-letter word ever goes through his mind, Edberg hesitated briefly.

"Well, it's somewhere in there, because I know that word," said Edberg, who beat Amos Mansdorf, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4, yesterday to advance to thethird round. "But I normally do it in Swedish. I'm trying to be little bit smarter than shouting it in English."

"Everybody gets irritated sometimes," he said. "Even me."

G. Fernandez out

The women's draw got thinner yesterday. Gigi Fernandez was forced to retire in her singles match against Zina Garrison-Jackson, with Garrison-Jackson leading, 6-4, 4-2.

Fernandez suffered a muscle strain in the back of her right shoulder. Last night, she had still not withdrawn from the doubles.

Looking for MacArthur Park?

Actor Richard Harris dropped by the players' Tea Room yesterday, managing to look very old, very dapper and very famous all at the same time.

Martina's turn

Martina Navratilova rolled on yesterday, 6-0, 6-4 over Ros Nideffer and seemed in a very good mood.

Told she wouldn't be asked about her shaving habits, a la Andre Agassi (whose disappearing body hair has been a hot topic), she said: "A few years ago, I thought I should just not shave my legs, a la [Bjorn] Borg, who didn't shave the whole time, but it's not very nice. I don't have much body hair anyway. As you can see, I don't have much on top of my head either."

So much for equal hair time.

She also had a few words about Ivan Lendl, who was ousted yesterday. Lendl, 33, is three years her junior:

"I think he works out too much," she said. "It seems whenever he loses, he just goes and works out harder, and that's really not the key any more.

"The biggest thing I see is that he just hasn't changed his game at all. He just keeps playing the same way, and it's like hitting your head against the wall. In your 30s, it's sort of more difficult to get down for those low balls, and he was never that good at it anyway. He just can't get down there any more."

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