Tennis Roundup : Mysterious Illness Forces Graf to Withdraw From Wimbledon

From Times Wire Services

Steffi Graf is suffering from a mysterious virus and will miss the Wimbledon championship where she was seeded third.

The West German, who turned 17 last Saturday, has been suffering from high fever and a viral infection and cough since the French Open two weeks ago.

“She is very sick,” said her father and coach Peter Graf, reached by telephone Monday at the family home in Bruehl, West Germany. “She feels really bad about not playing. But we took her to a doctor and he told her not to play for two or three weeks,” he said.

In addition to Graf, No. 4-ranked John McEnroe and No. 5-ranked Yannick Noah are not playing in the championships, which begin next Monday. Jimmy Connors, who is No. 6, is doubtful because of a pulled groin muscle.


Meanwhile, Wimbledon went with the world computer rankings in naming Ivan Lendl of Czechoslovakia and Martina Navratilova as its top-seeded players.

Navratilova, despite losing to Chris Evert Lloyd in the French Open final, is still ranked No. 1, as is Lendl, the reigning French Open champion.

Sweden’s Mats Wilander is seeded second among the men, followed by Connors and West Germany’s Boris Becker, the defending Wimbledon champion. Sweden’s Stefan Edberg is seeded fifth, and Sweden’s Joakim Nystrom, France’s Henri Leconte and Sweden’s Anders Jarryd round out the top eight.

Tim Mayotte, who won the Queen’s Club title last Sunday, is seeded 10th, and Sweden’s Mikael Pernfors, a finalist in the French Open, is seeded 13th.

Hana Mandlikova replaces Graf as the third-seeded woman behind Navratilova and Lloyd. She is followed by West Germany’s Claudia Kohde-Kilsch, Pam Shriver, Kathy Rinaldi, Czechoslovakia’s Helena Sukova and Bulgaria’s Manuela Maleeva.

No. 1-seeded Martina Navratilova, No. 2 Hana Mandlikova and No. 3 Claudia Kohde-Kilsch started their Wimbledon warmup with straight-set victories in the first round of a tournament at Eastbourne, England.

Navratilova beat Catherine Tanvier of France, 6-1, 6-3; Mandlikova ousted Janine Thompson of Australia, 6-1, 6-2, and Kohde-Kilsch beat 16-year-old Melissa Gurney, 6-3, 6-2.