Re: Official Alex Bogomolov Cheering Thread
Boston rocked by NY
Navratilova can't help out Lobsters
By Susan Bickelhaupt, Globe Staff | July 15, 2006
World TeamTennis has elite current and veteran players like John McEnroe, Martina Hingis, and Pete Sampras sprinkled throughout its 12 teams. And while the marquee names might not show up at every match, they are guaranteed to draw crowds when they do appear.
Last night, Martina Navratilova of the Boston Lobsters graced the multicolored courts of Harvard's Bright Arena to try to give her team a boost and the 1,684 spectators a glimpse of one of the all-time tennis greats.
But the Lobsters (1-5) lost to the New York Sportimes, 23-15.
Navratilova, who turns 50 in October, is expected to retire after the US Open in September. Earlier this month, she played doubles at Wimbledon, where she is tied with Billie Jean King for a record 20 titles.
``We try to have world-class athletes for the tennis af icionados, and then we're trying to get people who have never been to a professional tennis match, or maybe just passed it on television," said Lobsters general manager Peter Mandeau. Thus, Navratilova's appearance, along with loud music and a roaming lobster.
Even though the format diverges sharply from what Navratilova is used to -- from the scoring system to the music that blares during the breaks -- she insists she doesn't play differently.
``I always try to play hard," she said. ``This is not easy, coming from grass to play on an indoor court, but you adapt and just kind of go by the seat of your pants."
No man or woman has won more singles and doubles titles than Navratilova, who has 342. She finished ranked No. 1 in the world a record seven times, and has won 58 Grand Slam titles (18 singles, 31 doubles, 9 mixed). Only Margaret Court (62) has more.
So it was no surprise that the crowd applauded Navratilova when she stepped on the court.
But even though Navratilova stands alone in the sport, she has a fondness for team tennis, and has played in the WTT league since King helped develop it in the 1970s.
``I like playing on a team, that's why I like playing doubles," Navratilova said. ``I like talking to a partner; I hate being all alone on the court. I love getting the support from your teammates, and also being able to give it."
The Boston doubles team of Thomas Blake and Amir Hadad fell to New York's David Martin and Alex Bogomolov Jr., 5-3. Then Boston's Anda Perianu defeated Ashley Harkleroad, 5-3. But Bogomolov beat Hadad in singles, 5-3, and the Sportimes (5-2) had a 13-11 lead at halftime.
The crowd hoped Navratilova would help pull out a victory in the second half, but she and Kristen Schlukebir dropped their match, 5-0, then Navratilova and Hadad lost the final match, 5-4, in a tiebreaker.
``We lost it when we lost the women's match," Navratilova said. ``You can't dig a hole that deep and win in team tennis."