Charleston tennis news compiled by Mike Saia.
Non-cited stories by James Beck, Post and Courier.

Winner: 2018 USTA South Carolina Media Excellence Award

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(09/19/99)  Staying healthy may be Agassi's main concern
Andre Agassi has had one of the most successful years in the open era of men's tennis. He's climbed to No. 1 in the rankings as a result. Normally, such a great year would carry a player through much of the following year. In Agassi's case, his hold on the top spot might have become even tighter if he had a strong showing in the Australian Open, wiping out his round of 16 loss this year Down Under.

But that won't be the case when January arrives. The ATP Tour is switching ranking systems, departing from its rotating one-year cycle.

After watching Agassi in the U.S. Open, there is no reason to believe this young player can't be just as good in 2000 as he has been in 1999. Staying healthy must be his main concern.

Agassi was so good by the end of the U.S. Open that he didn't even have to play a stellar match to win his second Grand Slam of the year. In his post-match interview, Agassi obviously was just happy to have another U.S. Open title. He knew he backed into this one last Sunday.

There was a great deal of pressure on Agassi against Todd Martin. Agassi was a heavy favorite, but Martin had his share of fans. Plus, Martin wouldn't quit.

Agassi had to beat Martin. And he did, even though he seemed to be playing with butterflies most of the match. He finally wore Martin down and things got a little easier.

With that match out of the way, Agassi should be better than ever.

U.S. loaded

Have you had a chance to look at the world rankings since the U.S. Open? Americans dominate both the men's and women's rankings, holding down three of the top four positions in each.

Only second-ranked Yevgeny Kafelnikov among the men and top-ranked Martina Hingis on the women's side spoil things for the Americans. Other than Agassi, there's No. 3 Pete Sampras and No. 4 Martin among the men. For the women, Lindsay Davenport, Venus Williams and Serena Williams hold down the 2-4 positions.

Floyd's effect

Hurricane Floyd had an impact on local tennis this weekend in the form of cancellations of the Junior Challenger at James Island's Maybank Tennis Center and the Southern Senior Closed Championships at Kiawah Island.

The Maybank event will be reset for later in the fall, depending on the S.C. Tennis Association's junior schedule. There is no word yet on when the Southern Senior will be made up.

Snee Farm is on

The annual Snee Farm Junior Tennis Championships are scheduled for next weekend. The entry deadline is Tuesday.

Snee Farm director of tennis Dewey Caulder is planning to have consolations matches in all age categories this time, even though Snee Farm's clay courts took a beating from Hurricane Floyd. The junior event is scheduled for hard courts, although the clay courts might have been used for consolations.

Caulder said Snee Farm is still planning to put on the State USTA League Mixed Doubles tournament the following weekend, Oct. 1-4, but this event will be played on clay and repairs to those courts must be completed prior to the tournament.

Also, Kiawah Island's Junior Clay Court Championship is set for Oct. 22-25.

Andre and Steffi

Yes, these two apparently are becoming an item. Steffi Graf watched Agassi's victory over Martin. And sure enough, word leaked out that the two have been seen dining together.

I like Brooke Shields, but I like Steffi much more. Agassi's many female tennis fans shouldn't be as jealous of Graf as they were of Shields. Most of them say that dumping Brooke was the best thing he's done.

(06/13/99)  The magic is back in tennis
Tennis dying? Someone must be kidding.

People who normally have no interest in tennis watched last weekend's French Open finals on television. There was more talk about Andre Agassi's and Steffi Graf's performances than there's been about tennis in recent memory.

The magic's back, at least for a few weeks. What if Andre and Steffi were to repeat their French Open success at Wimbledon?

USTA adult league participation has never been stronger; the Davis Cup sells out in 89 seconds; women's professional tennis sets attendance records almost everywhere it goes; and junior tennis is bustling.

So, what's wrong with tennis? Nothing. The game is followed by the masses as closely as ever. Once a true tennis fan, always a true tennis fan. You don't fall in love with tennis and then divorce it.

It may be that tennis isn't attracting as many new adult players as it once did, because the game is viewed by some as needing a facelift. The game is fine the way it is.

All sports go through cycles when they appear to be losing in popularity, even baseball and basketball. Golf and tennis are no exceptions. But when a Tiger Woods or an Andre Agassi appears on the scene, the picture changes. Belton busy as ever

As an example of junior tennis' bustling activity, the annual Palmetto Championships that started this weekend at Belton have 490 entries. That's slightly less than last year, but an increase over other recent years.

Last month's Seabrook Island Junior Championships had 128 entries, twice the number as a year earlier. The tournament had large draws in several categories, such as 28 players in boys' 12.

And Seabrook started this tournament just two years ago with less than 40 players in the draw. Of course, one thing that has been a big hit at Seabrook is its consolation draw for all age groups.

The consolation draw for all ages might be the single most important thing for any tournament, as well as for the future of junior tennis. No player likes to play one match against a high seed and go home, whether the player is 12 or 16.

The consolation draw probably is even more important for older players than younger ones, because older players usually are the ones on the verge of giving up the game.

Belton, of course, offers players of all ages a second chance through consolation draws and the consolation Challenger Tournament. That's one of the reasons lower-ranked players look forward to playing Belton each year.

Sampras changes mind

Wonder why Pete Sampras changed his mind and decided to play Davis Cup for the Americans against Australia July 16-18?

Could Sampras' change of heart have anything to do with Agassi's revival?

Sampras probably realizes now that his years as No. 1 in the world don't rank as high on the chart of legends as Agassi's completion of a career Grand Slam, a feat accomplished by only one other American in history. Not to mention that Agassi's popularity transcends the boundaries of tennis.

At any rate, Sampras' six-week exile from the No. 1 spot in the world rankings will end Monday.

Cook gets wild card

Former Charleston junior Maiko Cook has been awarded a wild card into the main draw of this coming week's $25,000 Women's Challenger at Mount Pleasant's Whipple Road Tennis Complex.

Cook, a former top-ranked junior and Wando standout, just completed her freshman year at Tulane where she played No. 2 singles.

Bishop England star Katie Coleman will be pulling double duty. She received a wild-card berth into today's qualifying for the Women's Challenger and will compete at Belton Monday as the third seed in girls' 16.

Myrtle Beach standout Elizabeth Proctor also received a wild card into the qualifying event before starting play Monday as the No. 2 girls' 18 seed at Belton.

The main draw of the Women's Challenger will begin Tuesday.

Area wins 5th title

Area USTA League teams had their most successful year in state competition in 1999 with five state titles. Kiawah Island's senior 4.0 men's team wrapped up the fifth title last weekend by defeating host Hilton Head Island in the final.

The Kiawah team, made up of Ron Keller, Bill Baker, Linwood Grady, Perry Hudson, Nat Malcolm, Mac McCannon, Bill Miller, Brad Munday, Harry Polychron and Jim Quinn, will now compete in the sectional championships later this summer in Mobile, Ala.

The 4.5 senior women's team from Maybank Tennis Center, the women's 4.5 team from St. Andrews Parks and Playground, the men's 4.5 team from Snee Farm and a 5.0 women's team from Charleston won state titles earlier.

(05/30/99) Maybank team takes title
The 4.5 senior women's team that played out of James Island's Maybank Tennis Center gave the area another state title last weekend in the state USA League playoffs, headquartered at Snee Farm. Jeanette Weiland served as captain of a team that included Sarah Hyatt, Joan Kerrigone, Ann Munday, Carol Pierce, Carrie Randall, Joanne Robertson, Zoe Williams and Kitsy Wise.

The Maybank team's success gives the area four state titles. The women's 4.5 team from St. Andrews Parks and Playground, the men's 4.5 team from Snee Farm (Marvin Jackson plays for the Snee Farm team, but wasn't listed among the team members last week) and a 5.0 women's team from Charleston all won state titles two weeks ago.

As for state tournaments, that leaves only the 3.0, 3.5 and 4.0 seniors, who will hold their state competition next weekend at Hilton Head Island.

Senior Cup near

Several local players will be participating in the nine-state Southern Senior Cup next weekend in Columbus, Ga. Diane Fishburne, Sally McKinney, Susie Peiffer, Jeanette Weiland and Zoe Williams will head the women's team. Charleston natives Ben Varn and Dewey Varn play for the men's team.

Poor Pete

Pete Sampras just can't win the big one on clay. And with reason. He tries to beat clay-courters at their own game.

Patrick Rafter raised a good question after Sampras' most recent string of losses in the French Open when he said, "I try to play my game as much as I can. I'm surprised Pete doesn't do more of it."

Rafter's game, of course, is to attack, to charge the net at every opportunity, even on clay. The strategy worked well enough two weeks ago to carry Rafter to the Italian Open final. And it seemed to work well for Rafter in the early rounds of the French Open.

Maybe Sampras should head to Paris in the remaining years of his career just trying to be at the top of his serve-and-volley game. Forget the excessive work from the baseline in what looks like a losing proposition. It's the serve-and-volley game that has put Sampras on the brink of immortality. Why not try to overpower the clay-courters since it appears he can't beat them from the baseline.

So, what if Sampras never wins the French Open? Did Bjorn Borg ever win the U.S. Open? Did Jimmy Connors win the French?

Did Ivan Lendl win Wimbledon? Did Stefan Edberg win the French? Did Boris Becker win the French? Has Andre Agassi won the French?

These seven, along with John McEnroe, probably are the greatest players of the last 30 years. Each of the seven has won three different Grand Slam events. Yet, each has a void in their career. Five of the voids are the French, one is Wimbledon and one is the U.S. Open.

But the French Open is the major stumbling block for most Americans. Sampras is finding out why.

It's the attitude they take to Paris each spring, the belief they have to hit better from the baseline. Next year is an eternity for Sampras, but he must wait those 51 weeks for another shot at immortality. Maybe he'll come out playing bigger than ever in French 2000.

Family Circle changes

The switch from the annual first week in April to April 17-23 next year won't be the only change for the Family Circle Cup at Hilton Head Island. There will be no qualifying tournament and lights will be added to a 1,200-seat enlarged grandstand court. The tournament will open on Monday, April 17 with a night session.

The change in date will push the Family Circle into the weekly slot following the annual Heritage Golf Classic at Sea Pines Plantation. The switch is the result of the Women's Tennis Association's players' request to separate the three successive Tier One events at Indian Wells, Calif., the Lipton Championships and the Family Circle.

Tennis on InfoLine

After dialing 937-6000, enter the 3080 tennis code, then press 1 for women's tennis and 2 for men's tennis.

(05/09/99)  Hingis should soon be true fan favorite

Martina Hingis has a way of cooling players off. Take red-hot Serena Williams, for instance, the little sister who has advanced all the way to 10th in the world. Serena entered this week's Italian Open having suffered only three losses in 1999, the best record in women's tennis. Hingis, Lindsay Davenport and Venus Williams each had four losses.

So what did Hingis do when the two met Friday? She won 16 of the first 17 points against the overly aggressive Serena, giving up the only point on a double fault. By then, down 4-0, 17-year-old Serena was well on her way out of the Italian Open.

Just 18 years old herself, Hingis isn't ready to give up her No. 1 ranking. Not only is she a super tennis player, she's a super competitor.

She may lose her top ranking at some point, but right now no one is better. She has court smarts far beyond her years.

She still giggles in interviews. She just appears to be a happy young woman, perfectly satisfied in knowing that she is the best player in the world.

I admit that even as recently as last year, I wasn't a Martina Hingis fan. I thought she was brash. She's still brash to some extent, but she has matured a great deal.

For awhile, the more I saw of Hingis, the less I liked her. Now, it's just the opposite. Give her a few more years, and she should be a true favorite of tennis fans.

Porter-Gaud shines

An example of just how strong Porter-Gaud defending S.C. Independent School Association girls' state championship team is was obvious during the SCISA state individual tournament held last Monday and Tuesday at Fripp Island.

No. 1 player Mary Neill Hagood didn't participate. Alida Barnwell and Julia Darling did represent Porter-Gaud, though. In fact, they were the two finalists in a 38-player field.

Barnwell, just an eighth-grader and Porter-Gaud's No. 3 player, upset Darling to win the tournament on the clay courts at Fripp Island Racquet Club.

Darling (the team's No. 2 player) and Hagood, as sophomores, are the oldest players on the Porter-Gaud team.

Luszki holds clinic

Dr. Walter Luszki and Rivers Middle School teacher Leroy Major will put on a tennis clinic May 19 at 3:10 p.m. for students at Rivers. Tennis instructions, rackets, balls and tennis books will be given to the participants.

It's a busy time for Luszki, a men's 80 state champion. On Thursday, he will be awarded a Distinguished Volunteer Award from the Charleston County School District. The presentation will be made during a 6:30 p.m. reception at Charles Towne Landing's Dome.
Junior events set

The next junior tournament on the agenda will be the May 22-24 Wachesaw Junior Championship at Murrells Inlet's Wachesaw Plantation. The entry deadline is next Saturday at noon. Singles and doubles will be available for 10-and-under through 18-and-under.

The entry fee is $40, but unlike many other tournaments all participants will be guaranteed at least two singles matches. The recent Snee Farm tournament was one of the tournaments that held consolation matches for the 10-and-under and 12-and-under age groups only.

Seabrook Island's Junior Clay-Court Tournament will be held May 29-31 with the same age divisions as Wachesaw, along with singles and doubles and at least two singles matches for all players.

The Seabrook entry fee is $25 for singles and $20 per doubles team. The entry deadline is Monday, May 24.

Both tournaments are played on clay courts.

Tennis on InfoLine

Tennis fans can get up-to-date pro tennis results from The Post and Courier's InfoLine audiotex service. After dialing 937-6000, enter the 3080 tennis code, then press 1 for women's tennis and 2 for men's tennis.

(04/18/99)  Local girls rank high in state
Guess what finally arrived in the mail the other day? If you're a USTA member, you already know that the S.C. Tennis Association's 1999 Yearbook showed up in the mailbox early in the week. So, the SCTA beat the IRS deadline by a couple of days.

State rankings are finally official. Yes, here we are in the last half of April and the 1998 state rankings are finally available. Although the rankings for 1998 are a little outdated by now, I can't help but boast about the success of area girls in the rankings.

Local girls earned the top spot in three of the five junior age categories. Alice Knowlton, Maggie Valiunas and Mary Neill Hagood all have their pictures in the yearbook as the No. 1-ranked players in girls' 10, girls' 14 and girls' 16, respectively. Kalee Claussen missed out on the photo display, but landed the No. 2 ranking in girls' 12.

But it was a lean year for Charleston in girls' 18. No local player was ranked.

Local girls made up for the 18-and-under shortfall by landing a total of 18 top 20 spots in girls' 10, 12, 14 and 16, led by six players in girls' 14 where Emily Applegate took third place, Sandy Krings fourth, Alida Barnwell fifth, Jewel Aldea 13th and Casey Stone 18th.

The area had five girls ranked in the top 20 in 16-and-under. Charlotte Wilson was fifth, Katye Rhett sixth, Julia Darling 16th and Hunter McRae 18th.

Four locals earned top 20 berths in girls' 12, with Natalie Ferrara eighth, Erika Shortridge ninth and Nicole Beck 18th.

Vernita Ackerman and Sabra Rogers joined Knowlton in girls' 10, landing third and ninth in the rankings.

The area also had the top doubles teams in girls' 12 (Ferrara and Shortridge), girls' 14 (Applegate and Valiunas) and girls' 16 (Darling and Hagood).

In the boys' divisions, local players grabbed 19 top 20 places, but no first places. Nicky Valiunas in boys' 12, Ryan Young in boys' 14 and Garrett Dong in boys' 18 all took second places.

Boys' 10 was represented by seven area players in the top 20: John Howell seventh, Andrew Gibson ninth, Francis Johnson 13th, Richard Pearce 15th, Dirk Bair 16th, Matthew Strange 17th and Brice Richards 18th .

In boys' 12, Jason Basile took third, Nat Estes fourth, Harvey Brockinton 14th and Fleetwood Hassell 16th.

Taylor Calcote was the only local player other than Young to make the boys' 14 elite top 20, landing seventh place.

In boys' 16, Matthew Hane was third, followed by John Barnwell eighth, Christopher Dong 10th and Evan Rhodes 13.

Ross Chapman was rated 11th in boys' 18.

Basile and Valiunas formed the top boys' 12 doubles team, while Gantt Drayton and Hane took top honors in 16-and-under and Chapman was half of the top boys' 18 doubles team.

In the state adult rankings, the area landed three No. 1 singles rankings: Susan Peiffer in women's 45, Sally McKinney in women's 60 and Bob Baker in men's 60. Peiffer and McKinney actually were the only area women to gain state singles rankings for 1998.

Other high men's singles rankings included: Frank Jones sixth in 40s, Roger Newsome second in 45s, David Jennings seventh in 50s, Lyons Williams second in 60s, Carl Fisk third in 60s, Stuart Miller fourth in 60s, Stephen Berque eighth in 60s, Ray Easterbrook second in 65s, Tom Kent fifth in 65s, Jerry Hanchrow sixth in 65s, Karl Bergman seventh in 65s, Warren Landess eighth in 65s and John Baird fifth in 70s.

In adult doubles, Susan Peiffer and Kitsy Wise earned the top ranking in women's 45, Ron Keller landed a top ranking in men's 50, Bob Minick took a No. 1 ranking in men's 65, and Jerry and Janet Hanchrow earned the state's top ranking in mixed 65 doubles.
Snee Farm Junior near

The entry deadline for next weekend's 10th annual Snee Farm Junior Championships is Wednesday. The entry fee is $32 and includes singles, doubles and consolation.

(04/07/99)  Draper advances at Skatell's
MOUNT PLEASANT - The U.S. Tennis Association is experimenting with no-ad scoring this year on its USTA Circuit. The experiment is making the satellite circuit even more unpredictable. In Tuesday's first round of the $12,500 Skatell's Pro Tennis Classic at Creekside Tennis and Swim, top seed Mark Draper of Australia and third seed Michael Joyce of Los Angeles both were extended to three sets.

Draper, runner-up in this tournament in 1996, and Joyce, a player who has been ranked as high as 64th in the world and beaten the likes of Jim Courier and Michael Stich, both survived three-set matches to advance to today's second round of the 64-player tournament.

Draper scored a 6-3, 6-7 (7-5), 7-6 (7-3) decision over Iain Bates of Britain. Joyce overcame Dmitri Toursounov of Russia, 5-7, 6-3, 6-2.

In the no-ad scoring system, once a game reaches deuce, the player who wins the next point wins the game. Players tend not to like the system because while it shortens the time of matches it turns each deuce into a sudden-death situation and can make outcomes less predictable.

Defending champion Nir Welgreen of Israel, the fourth seed, also was forced to three sets before turning back Jocelyn Robichaud of Canada, 4-6, 6-2, 6-1.

Jimy Szymanski of Venezuela, winner of last week's tournament in Mobile, Ala., lived up to his sixth seeding with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Diego Ayalla of the United States.

Second seed Oren Motevassel of Israel opened with a 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) victory over Michael Mather of Louisville, Ky. Seventh seed Jonathan Erlich of Israel was a 6-1, 6-1 winner over former Clemson star Mitch Sprengelmeyer of Florence, a wild card.

Eighth seed Kevin Kim of Fullerton, Calif., suffered a 3-6, 6-1, 6-3 loss to former Georgia Tech player Robert Givone of Katonah, N.Y.

Second-round play will begin at 10 a.m. today. The singles final is slated for 1 p.m. Sunday.

(04/03/99)  Novotna, Hingis face off in semis
HILTON HEAD ISLAND - Don't discount Jana Novotna in the $1 million Family Circle Cup women's tennis tournament. The 30-year-old Wimbledon champion has sneaked into the semifinals with little fanfare. A strong hard-court player, Novotna played perfect clay-court tennis Friday to dominate 16th seed Henrieta Nagyova of Slovokia, 6-2, 6-4, before a crowd of 8,461 at Sea Pines Racquet Club.

Novotna now faces world's No. 1-ranked Martina Hingis in today's opening semifinal at 11 a.m. Young seventh seed Anna Kournikova of Russia will clash with sixth seed Patty Schnyder of Switzerland in the second semifinal.
Hingis breezed through the first seven games in 24 minutes, then needed twice that long to finish off 11th seed Natasha Zvereva of Belarus, 6-0, 7-6 (7-0).

Kournikova led unseeded Andrea Glass of Germany, 6-2, 2-1, when Glass retired with a left hip injury.
The only real struggle was on the outside grandstand court where Schnyder held off 14th seed Elena Likhovtseva of Russia, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (7-3). Likhovtseva had scored a straight-set upset of second seed Monica Seles in a match that ended late Thursday night.

"I just wish I could be on the other side of the draw,'' Novotna joked.

But the talented Czech certainly looked capable of beating anyone, even Hingis on clay. Novotna, who reached the semifinals here in 1996, admitted that she does have the game to fare well on clay.

"Sometimes it is all in my head, yeah (not being a good clay-court player), because I grew up on clay and I do have good variety, which is great for clay court,'' she said.

"Sometimes I'm not patient enough and sometimes I just get frustrated with bad bounces and just being on the court for a very long time.''

That wasn't the case against Nagyova, the same player who defeated Seles last month on hard court and upset 1998 Family Circle champion Amanda Coetzer Thursday. Novotna had more patience and finesse.

Novotna, who took six games in succession after a 2-2 start, won every net-cord ball. Her slice backhand spun up and over each time.

Nagyova, a 5-10, 20-year-old ranked 26th in the world, grew frustrated as the match wore on. Her first serve wasn't working and she was pushing her ground strokes.

Novotna was never pressed. She won the last two games at love.

"I started to play well right from the beginning, and didn't basically give her a chance to come back into the match,'' said Novotna, the third seed and world's fourth-ranked player.

"That's the way you have to play against Nagyova, because she's obviously a very tough opponent. She had a good win against Coetzer, and I took her very seriously.''

Novotna was just happy to be around for the quarterfinals after taking most of the afternoon and part of the night Thursday to produce a long, rain-interrupted three-set win over Silvia Farina. "Don't forget I was down 7-5, 5-4, and I was really close to being out of the tournament again,'' she said.

Hingis, winner of this tournament in 1997, had little trouble against Zvereva through 3-1 in the second set. Zvereva seldom extended rallies in the first 10 games as she hit balls into the bottom of the net or far off the court.
Just that quickly, however, Zvereva found the game that has made her the world's No. 1 doubles player. She started hitting lines and throwing in big serves.

Caught off guard by Zvereva's reversal, Hingis nearly lost the second set.

"It was like two points away from victory (in the 10th game), and all of a sudden I was almost down,'' Hingis said. "Now, I felt like I was going to lose the second set. I was like, no way this can happen.''

Down 15-40 on her serve at 5-5, Hingis chased down what looked like an easy put away at the net by Zvereva to stay in the game. Hingis eventually won the game for 6-5, but Zvereva held service at love to force the tiebreaker.

"I think that was kind of an important game,'' Hingis said. "She was up 40-15 and had this easy forehand.''
Once in the tiebreaker, however, Zvereva looked like she was playing the first set again. She couldn't keep the ball in play.

"It might look very easy in the beginning, but somehow she kind of always mixes up, slices, powers you and then you just totally get out of rhythm sometimes,'' Hingis said. "That's how she beats players.''

Friday's quarterfinals
Martina Hingis (1), Switzerland, def. Natasha Zvereva (11), Belarus, 6-0, 7-6 (7-0).
Jana Novotna (3), Czech Republic, def. Henrieta Nagyova (16), Slovakia, 6-2, 6-4.
Anna Kournikova (7), Russia, def. Andrea Glass, Germany, 6-2, 2-1, retired.
Patty Schnyder (6), Switzerland, def. Elena Likhovtseva (14), Russia, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (7-3).

(03/31/99)  Openers not a breeze FAMILY CIRCLE CUP: Defending champ Amanda Coetzer triumphs over the wind and Elena Makarova
HILTON HEAD ISLAND - Amanda da Coetzer certainly isn't one of women's tennis' most formidable looking players, just the opposite of the big and powerful Amelie Mauresmo. But the 5-2, 120-pound Coetzer knows how to play in the wind. Mauresmo, with her 5-9, 142-pound physique, apparently doesn't.

That might Coetzerhave something to do with their ages and experience. Coetzer is a 27-year-old, 11-year WTA Tour veteran. Mauresmo is 19, and, prior to her runner-up finish in this year's Australian Open, was an unknown.

Coetzer opened defense of her Family Circle Cup title in Tuesday's second round of the $1 million tournament by fighting off the wind and qualifier Elena Makarova for a 6-3, 7-5 victory.

Mauresmo, the eighth seed, wasn't so fortunate. Neither was ailing French Open champion Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario.
Fellow French countrywoman Nathalie Dechy used finesse to beat the hard-hitting Mauresmo, 6-4, 0-6, 6-4.

Qualifier Gala Leon Garcia, a fellow Spaniard who was 0-3 on the women's tour this year and ranked 53rd in the world, took advantage of Sanchez-Vicario's injured wrist situation to eliminate the fourth seed, 6-4, 6-3.

It was the second straight year that Sanchez-Vicario, the 1996 champion, was eliminated from the Family Circle in her first match.

"I need to play as much as I can and hopefully I'll get my best form and that's why I came here,'' said Sanchez-Vicario, who now has a 2-4 record for the year.

Meanwhile, Wimbledon champion Jana Novotna, the third seed, looked completely at home on the clay surface in a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Catalina Cristea of Romania.

In the featured night match, young Anna Kournikova of Russia, the seventh seed, recovered from a slow start to overcome Maria Antonia Sanchez Lorenz of Spain, 2-6, 6-3, 6-1, much to the delight of a crowd of 6,674 at Sea Pines Racquet Club.

Top-seeded, world's No. 1-ranked Martina Hingis and second-seeded Monica Seles will play their first matches today.

"I felt like I had to be really, really careful with some shots and I had to really commit with my footwork,'' said Coetzer.

Mauresmo, a talented player with all the shots including a one-handed slice backhand, drop shots, volleys, a powerful forehand and a 108 mph serve, was up and down against Dechy. Mauresmo was nearly flawless in the second set, but after taking a 3-2 lead in the third set had difficulty keeping the ball on the court.

"I had trouble in the first set. I wasn't really in the rhythm mentally and physically,'' Mauresmo said. "Then in the second set I found myself a little bit better.

"And then the third set it was again more windy, and I think a bit difficult to play, to be relaxed for me to really make the shot I wanted to.''

Novotna, noted more for her hard-court and grass-court game, broke out of a 4-4 first-set deadlock to win six straight games with solid serving and consistency off the ground on her patented slice backhand.

The 30-year-old Czech, despite being ranked fourth in the world, doesn't expect great results on clay. She has only a 10-6 record in seven appearances at the Family Circle, advancing to the semifinals only once.

"I never do well here, so whatever happens is good,'' Novotna said.

The windy conditions may have actually helped Novotna in her switch from hard courts to clay in that she had to be more patient and couldn't attack.

"Sure, it's harder to attack (in the wind) because balls are bouncing really high and you don't have the same control. You have to play to the middle of the court. You can't really go for the lines,'' she said.

(01/09/99)  ROY BARTH: Tennis honor acknowledges pro's dedication
Roy Barth has the ideal job. He's a tennis pro on a resort island.

It's no wonder he looks forward each day to the drive from his West Ashley home to Kiawah Island. What could be finer than working outdoors in a resort environment within a few hundred yards of an extraordinary beach? Toss in tennis, and the job becomes even dreamier.

"He loves what he does. He's very lucky. A lot of people get up in the morning and don't look forward to going to work. He truly does," Colleen Barth says about her husband.

Barth's nearly 23 years at Kiawah Island have been special, not only to him but to the Charleston tennis community and the state, sectional and national tennis organizations. Tennis and its advancement are serious matters to this 51-year-old Californian and former world-class tennis player.

Barth picked up his first tennis racket because it was the thing to do in his family. This was in sunny Southern California, the land of tennis. He became consumed by the game, lived his dream of earning a tennis scholarship to his dad's alma mater, UCLA. Even then, Barth never dreamed of the role tennis would play in his life.

Barth has given to the game, and he has taken from the game in a lifelong love affair. Friday night in Atlanta, the game will give Barth his finest moment when he is enshrined into the Southern Tennis Hall of Fame.

"I never dreamed I would end up being in the profession. My goal was to get a college scholarship and play tennis in college. I never looked beyond that," he says. "My whole life has been tennis. It's still my hobby."

Still nearly as fit as he was more than a quarter-century ago when he was a founding member of the worldwide Association of Tennis Professionals, Barth has just finished a tennis workout with one of his sons, Sandon, a member of the Clemson tennis team.

Life has been good for Barth. He's the only tennis director Kiawah Island has had. He reported to work for the resort's grand opening on May 1, 1976, and has stayed right there.

Both of his sons played high school tennis for Bishop England. Sandon continued tennis after high school and is a junior at Clemson. Jonathan didn't play college tennis. He earned his degree from the College of Charleston last month.
Barth's mother and father still play tennis back home in San Diego. To their son, they best represent the value of tennis in one's life.

"Dad's 80 and Mother's 78, and they still play. They've played all of their lives," says Barth, as proud of his parents as they are of their son.

Pat Barth will wear her proudest suit next week to watch her son become only the fourth South Carolinian inducted into the Southern Tennis Hall of Fame. So will Colleen, just as she was by her husband's side when he barnstormed the world as a touring professional.

"He was not expecting this at all. He was very surprised and flattered," Colleen says about the honor.

"The whole family will be there. The boys (Jonathan and Sandon) will be there and some of my family is coming from California. His mother is coming. His father (Robert) can't make it. Both his mother and father came last year for the S.C. Hall of Fame (Barth was inducted into the state tennis hall of fame in 1997). It's a good ways to come for one night."

Barth has succeeded at every level of tennis. He won national titles as a junior, made All-America as a collegian, ranked among the top 45 players in the world as a professional, taught at one of the premiere tennis resorts in the nation, directed teams to world championships, organized one of the nation's top junior tournaments, served as host professional for a major international event and is serving as co-chairman of the national Davis Cup committee.

A full-time job

Tennis is a full-time job for Barth, one he loves.

He is busy with tennis year-around, whether teaching or administrating or carrying out one of his duties with the USTA. His USTA involvement has paid dividends for Kiawah in the form of national and international publicity, and the landing of an event as prestigious as last year's Fed Cup tie between the United States and the Netherlands.

"I've been very fortunate, because Kiawah has been so supportive of me in being able to take a week off for events such as the Italia Cup," he says.

Barth is always at USTA, Southern and state meetings, looking to help tennis and promote Kiawah, which has been rated three times in the 1990s among the top 10 tennis resorts in the nation by Tennis Magazine.

During the fall, Barth holds the prestigious Kiawah Island Junior Clay Court Championships. This tournament reminds Barth that the future of tennis is in its youth.

"I basically manage the tennis program. I don't teach all day, but during the peak season (March through the fall), I'll teach three or four hours in a morning. I teach property owners, local juniors and resort guests," he says.

"When I was on the pro tour, I wasn't sure I'd like being a teaching pro. But it helped me as a teacher because on the tour I was able to pick out the strengths and weaknesses of the players. It's working with the people that makes teaching fun for me."

Time for a change

Barth knew when it was time to quit the tour. He had had to leave Colleen's bedside just minutes after Jonathan was born in 1975. They lived in Indianapolis at the time, where Barth played for the Indiana Loves of World Team Tennis.

"I had to catch a plane for Pittsburgh for a match 10 minutes after Jonathan was born," Barth says. "I was ready after that year of traveling with Team Tennis to get off the tour."

Colleen agrees. "It took Roy about two years to make the decision to leave the tour, but it was the right decision for Roy at the time."

Kiawah Island was planning its grand opening, and had hired star Roscoe Tanner as a tour pro, but was looking for a resident pro.

"In March of 1976, Roscoe called. He had heard I was looking to get off the tour and he asked me if I would be interested in interviewing with the management at Kiawah," Barth says.

"I flew down for an interview. When they offered me the job, I thought I'd try it for two years."
He was pleasantly surprised by the new job, how much he enjoyed it and how easily he was able to make the transition to teaching from playing.

Kiawah started with nine courts at the West Beach Tennis Center. Under Barth's leadership, Kiawah's tennis operations has grown to include 28 courts and two complexes. Barth's office is at East Beach Tennis Center where 12 courts are located. West Beach has 16 courts.

The U.S. Men's Clay-Court Championships were held at East Beach in 1990. In addition to last year's Fed Cup, Kiawah has served as host for numerous other state, sectional and national events.

Barth captained the USTA's 35-and-over international Italia Cup team for six years, winning world titles in 1996 and 1997. He coached Chris Evert and the 1975 U.S. Wightman Cup team and directed the USTA/Southern Section 18-and-under intersectional team to one national title during his three years as coach.

As a player, he won three national junior doubles titles. He played No. 1 singles and doubles at UCLA, was twice named an All-American, won Pacific Eight Conference singles and doubles titles in 1969 and was NCAA doubles runner-up in 1968. As a pro, he defeated such greats as Tanner, Tom Okker, Pancho Gonzales and Charlie Pasarell in singles, and Arthur Ashe, Stan Smith and Bob Lutz in doubles.

Barth was ranked second in the United States in 1970 in men's doubles with Tom Gorman. His highest U.S. men's singles ranking was eighth, in 1969. Smith and Ashe were ranked first and second that year.

Since dropping off the pro tour, Barth has won 10 U.S. Professional Tennis Registry 35-and-over doubles titles, six 35-and-over Southern doubles titles, five 30-and-over Southern doubles titles and two 40-and-over Southern doubles titles.
He's a member of San Diego's Hoover High School Sports Hall of Fame, along with Ted Williams. He also is a member of sports halls of fame for San Diego and UCLA.

Getting started

It all started when Roy Richard Barth was 8 years old. His father had played tennis at UCLA and was one of the top 35-and-over doubles players in the nation. His mother played club tennis and competed in tournaments (she was a doubles runner-up in the 75-80 division of the national Senior Olympics).

Older sister Patty, who went on to win a national 15-and-under doubles title and rank third in the nation in singles before giving up the game, already was winning tournaments and bringing home trophies.

"I got psyched up," Barth says. He picked up a racket and started playing.

"A lot of people have influenced my game. Each of my coaches gave me something different. Dad was my stabilizing influence. Neither Mother or Father got upset with me for losing a match or for not playing well. They let me play my own game and supported me. I think that's why I still enjoy the game today."

When he was 12, he started taking lessons from Maureen "Little Mo" Connolly. A nine-time Grand Slam tournament champion before she was 18 years old, including three Wimbledons, Connolly had suffered a career-ending injury in a horse accident and was in her early 20s when Barth and his sister started taking lessons from her. Connolly would die of cancer while in her middle 30s.

Barth still remembers the headline in the London newspaper where he was playing Wimbledon. "It was the first day of Wimbledon in 1969, and the headline said, `Little Mo Dies.' I then realized the impact she had had on tennis," he says.

"Little Mo" also had an impact on Barth. After his parents, Connolly was the first major influence on his game.

"She came to my sister's wedding when she was dying of cancer. She was a very vibrant person, very inspirational.
"She taught me how to use the time wisely when practicing. She believed in working hard for a certain period of time and then getting away from the court and playing other sports. She taught me periodization, taking breaks during the winter. She taught me how to really practice properly. She also taught me how to hit the ball on the run."

The next major influence on Barth was former Wimbledon doubles champion Lester Stoefen. After Connolly left San Diego when Barth was 14, Stoefen took over and coached Barth through his teen years until he entered UCLA. Stoefen also worked with Stan Smith.
"He really influenced my volleying game. He taught me touch volleying. Volleying was the best part of my game," Barth says.

Barth won his first national title when he and his doubles partner traveled from San Diego to Chattanooga, Tenn., by train for the 13-and-under national clay-courts. They won and were invited on the same trip to play in the national 15 clay-court doubles in Kalamazoo, Mich.

He later teamed with future University of Southern California nemesis Lutz to win 16-and-under national clay-court and hard-court titles.

College tennis

For a college choice, there was only one. "UCLA was a great tennis school. I always had thought about playing there. I went up to UCLA for a visit in 1965 when Arthur Ashe was a senior. They won the nationals and Arthur won the singles title."

Glenn Bassett, the UCLA coach then, was the next major influence on Barth. "He influenced me on the conditioning level. It got to be a whole new level of conditioning. As a junior, you don't realize until you push yourself to the limit. You don't really know your limit until you get to college," Barth says.

Barth was one of the nation's top collegiate players, but UCLA and Barth lived in the shadows of crosstown rival Southern Cal where Smith and Lutz resided. UCLA was runner-up to Southern Cal three straight years in the NCAA tournament. Barth and his partner, Steve Tidball, lost to Lutz and Smith two straight years in the NCAA, once in the final. Barth and Tidball finally beat Lutz and Smith twice after college.

Barth earned a degree in economics from UCLA in 1970.

"I was lucky I wasn't drafted by the military when I finished UCLA. I had a good lottery number, and once I didn't get drafted I had a chance to play pro tennis," he says.

He joined Lamar Hunt's World Championship Tennis circuit in January 1971. This was the premiere circuit in professional tennis, a tight, but elite 32-player league. The competition was fierce. Some of the game's top players couldn't handle the constant competition, the no-breather style of the WCT.

"Some of the guys like (Guillermo) Vilas and (Ilie) Nastase went on the tour and got beat the second round. Vilas didn't last too long. They were used to winning tournaments. But this was such a small group that you would play a big name in the second round," Barth says.

Barth had to find his own way of handling the challenge of the WCT.

"When you're playing (Rod) Laver, Ashe and (John) Newcombe every week your goals had to change. I had to set my individual goals so I could stay tough," he says.

Open tennis had come about only a couple of years earlier, and the ATP hadn't formed when Barth joined the WCT.
"I remember being in the room in Dallas for the first official meeting of the ATP," he says.

The stint with the Indiana Loves in 1975-76 was an interim job, between the tour and his new career as a teaching pro.
Barth has no regrets.

"The boys have grown up here, and we've had a normal lifestyle," he says.

He met Colleen about the same time he joined the WCT. They were married in December 1971. They traveled together until he left the tour in 1975. Colleen was a good club player herself, starting out as a youngster while living near the UCLA campus in Los Angeles.

"There are an awful lot of perks (on the tour)," Colleen says. "It's  a wonderful way to see the world. When you win it's wonderful, but when you don't win, it's tough. It's your livelihood. Although you're all friends off the court, it's still competitive. The hard thing was to live out of a suitcase for nine months. It was a real education. I feel very fortunate to have done it.

"Roy was very quiet on the court, but he was very competitive. He's gotten many sportsmanship awards and I think it was for his demeanor on the court and the way he conducted himself during matches."

Colleen sees her husband this way: "He's very humble. He's got tremendous strength of character. He's very sensitive to other people's feelings."

Roy Richard Barth
Birth: March 30, 1947, San Diego.
Occupation: Director of tennis, Kiawah Island Golf and Tennis Resort.
Education: B.A. degree in economics, UCLA, 1970.
Family: Mother and father, Pat and Robert Barth of San Diego; wife, Colleen; son, Jonathan, 23, December graduate of College of Charleston in communications; son, Sandon, 21, junior at Clemson where he is a member of the tennis team.
Hobbies: Traveling, dancing, fishing and tennis.
Favorite Food: Prime rib.
Favorite Dessert: Anything chocolate.
Persons I Most Admire: Parents: father for his character and work ethics,and mother for her genuine love and caring for people.
Biggest Win: Beat Tom Okker in Los Angeles in 1969 to end year ranked eighth in U.S. in singles.