McEnroe’s Play Is Dull but Not His Dialogue
n McEnroe told a spectator to “shut up,” then finally let his racket do the talking Friday.
Trying to return to form in time to win his third straight Wimbledon title, the No. 1-seeded McEnroe struggled for two hours to reach the third round, beating Nigeria’s Nduka Odizor, 7-6, 6-1, 7-6, in a dull Court 1 outing.
Meanwhile, Martina Navratilova, seeking her sixth Wimbledon title, and three-time champion Chris Evert Lloyd each required less than an hour to win their second-round matches.
Navratilova, admitting that she, along with everyone else, is a bit out of touch because of the lack of play or practice time, defeated Anne Minter, 6-4, 6-1, and Lloyd swept the final eight games to spoil the 21st birthday of Susan Mascarin, 6-3, 6-0.
Yugoslavia’s Slobodan Zivojinovic, who shocked No. 4-seeded Mats Wilander in a first-round match, was eliminated by Heinz Gunthardt of Switzerland, 6-4, 4-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Jimmy Connors, seeded No. 3, also had no trouble reaching the third round, defeating Kelly Everden of New Zealand, 6-3, 6-2, 6-1.
But McEnroe even had trouble with the reporters from London’s Fleet Street, who criticized his lackluster play during his first-round match at Wimbledon.
“I don’t like people asking me why I lost and telling me they’re lousy reasons,” McEnroe snapped.
“Who the hell are you people that know no better than I do. I simply gave the reasons why. I don’t need you to tell me in the article the next day that I lack professionalism.
“Don’t ask me, if you want to write your own article.”
The interview room outburst has become almost a habit for McEnroe every time he plays in a British tournament.
“That’s why I won’t be playing Queen’s (two weeks before Wimbledon) and Wembley (in November) any more,” he said.
McEnroe said that a reason for his uninspired play may have been having to go on court early in the day.
Because rain disrupted play on each of the first five days of the tournament, the schedule was moved up, and McEnroe was on the court two hours earlier than originally planned.
“I just got a little bit rushed again today,” he said. “I’m just getting out there and not really (being) ready to play for a while.
“It’s happened a lot of times before, and I’ve won, and no one’s talked about it.
“I started really slowly and I finished slowly. I don’t think I’d win the tournament if I played like this today. I feel like I kind of got by, just enough to win.”
Odizor, ranked No. 119 in the world, surprised McEnroe by breaking the New Yorker’s serve in the third game. He then held leads of 3-1, 4-2 and 5-3.
But McEnroe broke back for 5-5, and when the set reached the tiebreaker, he yielded only one more point, winning, 7-1.
After Odizor took the opening game of the second set, McEnroe ripped off seven games to take the set in less than 20 minutes and gain a 1-0 lead in the third.
The Nigerian lost control of his serve and also foot-faulted four times at crucial points.
However, his control returned in the third set, and few points were won against his serve. McEnroe had a match point at 6-5, but Odizor saved it with a service winner to set up another tiebreaker.
After McEnroe raced to a 6-0 lead, Odizor saved a second match point. But McEnroe won the match when the Nigerian hit a service return out.
McEnroe twice debated line calls with the umpire, and when a spectator called to him: “Come on, John, play,” he reacted by shouting “Shut up.”
Later, when a group of fans disturbed his concentration, he bellowed: “Quiet.”
Both the men and the women lost a seeded player Friday, and in each case, it was No. 13.
John Lloyd preceded his wife, Chris, on Centre Court and delighted the sellout crowd by beating Eliot Teltscher, 6-3, 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 7-5.
Carling Bassett of Canada dropped her second-round match to South African Rene Uys, 0-6, 7-6, 6-3.
It was Teltscher’s first appearance at Wimbledon in eight years.
Pat Cash, the No. 6-seeded player and a semifinalist last year, was trailing Ricardo Acuna of Chile, 6-7, 3-6, 6-3, 7-6, 3-5, when the match was halted by rain, and No. 2 Ivan Lendl, following a terrible second set, was deadlocked with Mike Leach, 6-3, 1-6.
Other seeded players to win among the men were No. 7 Joakim Nystrom, No. 8 Kevin Curren, No. 9 Johan Kriek, No. 11 Yannick Noah, No. 14 Stefan Edberg and No. 16 Tim Mayotte.
Nystrom was at match point when the first shower forced him off the court, and when he returned, he required only 11 seconds to complete a 7-5, 7-5, 6-3 victory over Paul Annacone, who reached the quarterfinals as a qualifier last year.
Edberg, like Nystrom from Sweden, endured the longest match of the week before subduing Tim Wilkison, 6-1, 7-5, 3-6, 6-7, 9-7.
Seeded women who reached the third round along with Lloyd and Navratilova were No. 7 Helena Sukova, No. 8 Zina Garrison, No. 11 Steffi Graf and No. 15 Gabriela Sabatini, all in straight sets.
Also, No. 6-seeded Claudia Kohde-Kilsch, No. 9 Bonnie Gadusek and No. 10 Kathy Jordan won their opening-round matches in straight sets.
Hu Na, who defected from China to the United States two years ago, reached the third round of her first Wimbledon with a 7-5, 6-4 victory over Lea Plchova of Czechoslovakia. And 17-year-old Boris Becker of West Germany won his second-round match from Matt Anger, 6-0, 6-1, 6-3.