Tennis still a love game, so Garrison won't retire U.S. OPEN

September 03, 1995|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,Sun Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- The U.S. Open was supposed to be a retirement party for Zina Garrison Jackson, but she has turned it into something of a revitalization party instead.

Her retirement plans, she says, are history.

"I thought I could just give it up and walk away from it, but I still really love the game," Garrison Jackson said before taking the court yesterday and advancing into the round of 16 with a 6-0, 7-6 (7-3) victory over Nicole Arendt. "I love being in the moment."

Garrison Jackson, 31, said she also had a long talk with Billie Jean King, who helped her see her situation more clearly.

"She told me I should go with the heart," Garrison Jackson said. "I'm still loving the game, so it's hard to walk away, and the closer this tournament got, the more it hit me. This retirement stuff was serious stuff, and I couldn't let it go on."

Pam Shriver, 33, said she knows exactly how Garrison Jackson feels. A year ago, she said she didn't know if she'd make it to the U.S. Open as a singles player, and despite losing in the second round in the 1995 version, Shriver, too, has put aside any idea of calling it a career.

"I've given up the idea of retirement," said Shriver. "I have two more tournaments this year. . . . I'm going to keep playing as long as it makes sense geographically. It's no longer my full-time job, but I realize now it's silly to make plans to quit. There is no reason a player should stop. I'm just going to slowly make the transition into a different level and eventually play only seniors events."

Today, Shriver and doubles partner Chanda Rubin will try to advance to the third round against her former doubles partner Martina Navratilova and Gabriela Sabatini.

Edberg is Ripkenesque

It was June 1983 when Stefan Edberg, now 29, began his Grand Slam streak that has reached 50 consecutive events -- an unprecedented accomplishment in men's pro tennis and some say on a par with Cal Ripken's pursuit of Lou Gehrig's 2,130 consecutive-game record.

"I'm not much interested in baseball, but I've heard about the Ripken streak," said Edberg, a Swede. "He is playing tons of matches."

The two men do have similarities. Neither has had a serious injury, both are exemplary on and off the playing field and court and both have expressed their desire to play in terms of a commitment to the game they play, rather than in terms of setting a record for the record's sake.

"I have always felt that being responsible as a top player [means playing] all the four Slams, whether you are not in shape or whether you are in shape," said Edberg. "I think the Slams are the events where everybody should play."

Seles a wild card

The WTA Tour announced that it would give Monica Seles a wild-card entry into the WTA Tour Championships in New York, Nov. 13-19.

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