Advertisement

Gomez Joins U.S. Open’s Casualty List : Tennis: With Edberg out, too, Lendl becomes the only one of this year’s men’s Grand Slam winners to advance. McEnroe wins, but is fined $500.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

So, Andres Gomez, you win the French Open, follow it up by losing in the first round of Wimbledon and then lose in the first round of the U.S. Open Wednesday.

Are you disappointed or what?

“Oh, no, I am very happy,” Gomez said, sarcastically.

Gomez, one of the most agreeable players on the tour, was having a bad day. At first, he refused to be interviewed after the match, then relented and complained about the court on which he had played.

Advertisement

Gomez said he was distracted by fans walking behind the court, by people talking too loud and by the smoke blowing across the net from hamburgers and hot dogs being grilled at the concession stand.

Other than that, Gomez presumably loved the court.

The day after Stefan Edberg, the reigning Wimbledon champion, lost in the first round, French Open champion Gomez did the same thing, crashing out at the hands of Luiz Mattar, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.

Meanwhile, John McEnroe was fined $500 for knocking a hole in a courtside sign with his racket, but it didn’t faze him much. McEnroe defeated David Engel of Sweden, 6-2, 6-3, 7-5.

Advertisement

All in all, McEnroe had sort of mixed results. He won his second-round match, but in addition to his fine, he also had a ball hit him near the eye when it glanced off his racket.

“Fortunately, it just gave me a bit of a spot,” McEnroe said.

It was left to 18-year-old Goran Ivanisevic to put into perspective the first-round defeats of Edberg and Gomez.

“It’s life, you know,” Ivanisevic said.

Advertisement

If it hadn’t been for Ivan Lendl’s 6-4, 5-7, 6-3, 6-3 victory over Michael Stich, all three of the year’s Grand Slam winners would have been gone already. Lendl, the Australian Open champion, avoided a sweep. And strangely, he credited his hat.

He wore a hat with a flap in the back, resembling something from the French Foreign Legion. Lendl, who had two dozen of the white hats delivered Tuesday from Australia, believes they help him beat the heat.

He claims that the hats, which keep the heat off the back of his neck, allow him to play 20% to 30% longer without getting tired.

To be sure, Lendl likes his hat. “Even though it may look a little bit funny,” he said.

Advertisement

After playing just one other match in a tournament since Wimbledon, Lendl said he needed match play to be effective in the Open. He expects to reach his top level in a another match or two.

And if he did manage to win his fourth U.S. Open, that could make him the top player of the year, Lendl said.

“Maybe not on the computer, but still the world champion, if either Gomez or I win,” Lendl said.

Lendl was then informed that Gomez lost.

Advertisement

“To whom?”

Mattar, he was told.

“Well, I guess he won’t win this one,” Lendl said.

The final Maleeva score was 2-1.

Advertisement

It was the luck of the draw when sisters Katerina Maleeva, 21, and Magdalena Maleeva, 15, played each other in the first round.

Katerina won, 6-3, 6-1, but wasn’t very happy about her victory, saying: “It doesn’t bring any feelings to me.”

Meanwhile, Manuela Maleeva Fragniere, the eldest of the three sisters at 23, won her second-round match against Debbie Graham of Fountain Valley, 6-0, 6-1.

Seventh-ranked Katerina and ninth-ranked Manuela try not to enter the same tournaments if they can, except for Grand Slams.

Advertisement

All three Maleeva sisters are coached by their mother, Yulia.

“You have to understand, there is no rivalry between us,” Katerina said. “I’m glad it’s over.”

Looking ahead, the only way Katerina could play Manuela is if they meet in the final.

Martina Navratilova, who has played seven U.S. Open finals and won four, overpowered Clare Wood, 6-0, 6-4, and advanced to the third round.

Advertisement

Navratilova said that after winning Wimbledon she doesn’t feel any pressure, but she is feeling pressure. Got that?

“When you’re 14, 16 or 18 years old, you’ve got 20 U.S. Opens to go,” Navratilova said. “I don’t have that many. Every one could be my last. So that’s pressure.

“I am truly thrilled I am in this position. At the beginning of the year, I thought I had a chance of becoming No. 1 (and) a lot of people thought I was Looney Tunes.

“So I’m just tickled to death to be close. The pressure is there, but I don’t mind it. That’s what you live for as a tennis player.”

Advertisement


Advertisement