Tennis Roundup : Sponsor's Money Is Fine, but Navratilova Doesn't Care Much for Its Signs

Martina Navratilova threatened to boycott future National Panasonic-sponsored events after winning the $150,000 Queensland Open at Brisbane, Australia, with a 6-4, 7-5 victory over her doubles partner, Pam Shriver, Sunday.

Shortly after completing a sweep of the singles and doubles titles by teaming with Shriver to beat Claudia Kohde-Kilsch of West Germany and Helena Sukova of Czechoslovakia, 6-4, 6-7, 6-1, the six-time Wimbledon champion blasted officials for refusing to remove sponsors' signs from the back of the court.

Navratilova earned $26,000 for her singles victory, while Shriver pocketed $13,000, and the two shared $9,500 for their doubles win. But the money didn't keep her from complaining about the tournament's sponsor.

"All week I've been asking for the signs to be taken off the court behind the baseline," Navratilova said. "I know how good National Panasonic has been over the years, but they have totally disregarded my request for putting the signs off the court.

"They have shown a total disregard for a rule preventing white signs behind the play. I am not threatening anything or anybody, but I will think long and hard before I play another event sponsored by National Panasonic. . . . And if I do, I'll certainly find out where the signs are."

Tournament director Colin Stubs, who heard Navratilova's comments, was not prepared to reply to the criticism.

The sign war involves a complicated conflict of rules involving the Women's Tennis Assn., the Virginia Slims group and the International Tennis Federation.

At Osaka, Japan, Chris Evert Lloyd defeated Manuela Maleeva of Bulgaria, 7-5, 6-0, in the final of the four-woman, $200,000 Lions Ladies Cup tournament.

Lloyd won the title for a third time by beating defending champion Maleeva before 12,000 fans at the Castle International Cultural and Sports Center.

Lloyd, who won the Cup in 1978 and 1982, earned $100,000, while the 18-year-old Maleeva received $50,000.

With the first set tied 5-5, Lloyd broke Maleeva's serve in the 11th game, after four deuce points and went on to win the set. Maleeva then appeared to lose her concentration, and was wiped out quickly in the second set.

Carling Bassett of Canada defeated American Lisa Bonder, 6-3, 6-3, for third place. Bassett collected $30,000, Bonder received $20,000.

Czechoslovakia's Ivan Lendl needed nearly four hours to wear down Wimbledon champion Boris Becker 6-7 (6-8), 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, and retain the title in the $375,000 Benson and Hedges championships at London.

Lendl, who is unbeaten in Grand Prix play since mid-August, needed all his experience in the last two sets to overcome the strong challenge of the 17-year-old West German.

Lendl's prize of $60,000 boosted his earnings for the year in Grand Prix tournaments to more than $1 million. Becker collected $30,000.

Both players agreed that the turning point came near the end of the fourth set when Becker was leading 4-3, 0-30 and needed two more points to break the defending champion and serve for the match.

But two Becker errors and an ace by the Czech helped Lendl pull out that game, and he went on to take 20 of the next 23 points.

"He played three games of tennis that I have never seen before," said the despondent Becker, ranked No. 5 in the world.

"You always have ups and downs in a five-set match. I had my down at the end of the fourth set and it proved crucial.

"I think I played better today than at any time during Wimbledon. I played the world's No. 1 player on the top of his form. It definitely was one of my best ever matches."

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