Navratilova out of Wimbledon doubles, won’t add to 20 titles
WIMBLEDON, England – Martina Navratilova ended her Wimbledon career Thursday still tied with Billie Jean King for the most All England Club titles with 20.
Navratilova and Liezel Huber of South Africa lost their quarterfinal doubles match 4-6, 6-4, 6-0 to the Chinese pair of Yan Zi and Zheng Jie, who won the Australian Open title this year.
In the third round of mixed doubles, Navratilova and Mark Knowles of the Bahamas lost 7-5, 6-1 to Andy Ram of Israel and Vera Zvonareva of Russia.
The 49-year-old Navratilova, who will retire from all play at the end of this year, has nine singles, seven doubles and four mixed doubles titles at Wimbledon. King won six singles, 10 doubles and four mixed.
One reason Navratilova has continued so long was a desire to hold the record on her own.
With little drama, and not stopping to collect a blade of grass as she had done when she originally retired from singles in 1994, Navratilova offered a wry smile as she waved a final goodbye.
“I’ll be here. I’ll be back. I just won’t be playing,” Navratilova said earlier this week.
Singles semifinalist Jonas Bjorkman, who has won the Wimbledon doubles title three times with Todd Woodbridge, won’t be around to collect a fourth. Bjorkman and Max Mirnyi were beaten 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 by Fabrice Santoro and Nenad Zimonjic in a quarterfinal match Thursday.
Bjorkman plays Roger Federer on Friday in the semis.
Venus Williams, meanwhile, is in the mixed doubles semifinals.
Williams, who lost in the third round of singles, teamed with Bob Bryan to win two matches Thursday. They beat the Australian pair of Todd Perry and Rennae Stubbs 7-6 (4), 6-3, and then downed India’s Leander Paes and Samantha Stosur of Australia 7-6 (3), 6-3.
PISTOL PETE WEIGHS IN
Pete Sampras laments the dearth of serve and volley in tennis.
“Since there aren’t really any true grass-court players, guys that can really serve and volley — pick a baseliner apart — you watch Wimbledon and it’s the French (Open) but it’s green because everyone is staying back,” Sampras said Thursday in a conference call from the United States.
“Ten years ago there were a lot more serve and volleyers. No one now is going to come in.”
Sampras, who has signed to play World Team Tennis with the Newport Breakers in California, said he won’t change his own style.
“I will die serving and volleying,” he said. “It’s my natural instinct, something I am pretty natural with. I don’t know if I will get to the net as quickly as I used to though.”
Sampras retired in 2002 after winning a record 14 Grand Slam singles championships, including seven Wimbledons.
TWO MINUTES OF SILENCE
Wimbledon will observe two minutes of silence Friday to mark the one-year anniversary of terrorist bombings in London. On July 7, 2005, four suicide bombers blew themselves up on three subway trains and a bus, killing 52 commuters and themselves. The two minutes of silence will begin at noon, just shortly before play begins on the featured courts.
FOES, THEN TEAMMATES
Justine Henin-Hardenne and Kim Clijsters will go from Wimbledon semifinal opponents to Belgian teammates for their Fed Cup World Cup semifinals on July 15-16.
Henin-Hardenne, who beat Clijsters in straight sets on Thursday at Wimbledon, will lead the team against the United States on indoors hardcourts at Ostend, Belgium. The Americans, with captain Zina Garrison, will have Jill Craybas, Jamea Jackson, Vania King and Mashona Washington.
Spain plays Italy in the other semifinal on clay courts at Zaragoza, Spain. Anabel Medina Garrigues and Virginia Ruano Pascual are among the Spanish players, while Francesca Schiavone and Flavia Pennetta will lead Italy.
Amelie Mauresmo could be part of a special French double this weekend. She’s contending for the Wimbledon singles title on Saturday, while the French soccer team faces Italy in the World Cup final on Sunday.
“I hope it’s the French week, you know,” Mauresmo said beating Maria Sharapova in the semifinals.
When asked what will be more nerve-racking — playing the tennis final or watching the soccer match — she replied: “I don’t know. I’ll tell you after.”