Wimbledon Roundup : Graf Storms Past Salmon in the First Round, 6-1, 6-2

Times Staff Writer

The key to beating Steffi Graf? Wait until she's sick, apparently.

Graf obliterated her first-round opponent, Julie Salmon of England, 6-1, 6-2, and said afterward that she felt fine.

"I am perfect," Graf said.

As she improved her record to 194-7 since becoming No. 1 in 1987, Graf was playing her first match since she played in a weakened condition and lost the French Open final to Arantxa Sanchez of Spain.

On that day in Paris, Graf was recovering from a virus and feeling sick, but that wasn't so unusual. In four of her last five losses, Graf was sick, with one thing or another.

"I am easy to get something, I guess," she said.

Graf said she is taking more vitamins now, but isn't sure if it's going to help.

"I'm just someone who gets colds and everything real easy. There is nothing I can do."

It was business as usual for the other top women in the first round. Martina Navratilova, seeded second, defeated Jill Hetherington of Canada, 6-3, 6-2; Gabriela Sabatini of Argentina, seeded third, defeated Diane Balestrat of Australia, 6-1, 6-0, and Chris Evert, seeded fourth, defeated Peanut Harper, 6-1, 6-1.

Navratilova scored her 49th victory in her last 50 Wimbledon matches with relative ease, but she did not notice any intimidation factor working in her favor.

"I was too busy worrying about me," she said. "I suppose if she fell down with her knees knocking, I would get an idea, but that didn't happen."

Tennis Notes

Tim Mayotte of Bradenton, Fla., seeded eighth, won his first-round match against Paolo Cane of Italy, 7-6 (7-2), 6-0, 6-1. It was Mayotte's 30th Wimbledon victory and made him the fourth-winningest active male player at Wimbledon behind Jimmy Connors, who has won 81; John McEnroe, 47, and Ivan Lendl, 33. . . . Monica Seles, 15, the Yugoslavia-born and Florida-bred sensation, has entered the Virginia Slims of Los Angeles, which will be played Aug. 7-13.

Eleventh-seeded Brad Gilbert of Piedmont, Calif., is the only seeded player yet to complete his first-round match. Gilbert was tied at two sets all against John Fitzgerald of Australia when play was suspended because of darkness. . . . From 32-year-old Martina Navratilova: "I read that some of the players said they thought I would get more nervous playing the younger players. That's funny because the only one older is Chris (Evert)."

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