Bates left deflated by new balls
Tuesday 13 June 1995
reports from Queen's Club
Jeremy Bates was quick to deposit yesterday's first-round victory at the Stella Artois tournament here in the drawer marked "one to forget". It was all a question of balls, you see. Too heavy, said Bates, who led the chorus of complaints emanating from the players' locker-room about a new ball which the administrators hope will enhance the spectacle of grass-court tennis.
Bates won comfortably enough - 6-4, 6-3 - against the German, Markus Zoecke, but the match, played under threatening skies and in a swirling wind, was definitely not one to win back the crowds.
The intolerable weather was one thing - "it was so cold it was hard to believe it is the middle of June," Bates said - but it was the balls and their lack of zip that most disturbed the British No 1, who ought to benefit from a muzzling of the game's heavy artillery.
The rules were altered at the start of the year to allow for more flexibility with the pressure of the ball and Ian Wight, the tournament director at Queen's, said that the Slazengers being used for the first time here have "marginally reduced" pressures. He said that although the players had been using them in practice since last Wednesday only one, Boris Becker, had ventured to comment about them.
Bates changed that yesterday, describing the balls (which will also be used at Wimbledon) as "absolutely dire" and complaining that "sometimes you hit them and nothing happened". Bates said his opponent felt the same way, talking about it non-stop.
Certainly Zoecke needed an excuse for a wayward display of hard hitting that saw good opportunities turn to waste. "The combination of calls, wet weather and the balls made it disastrous for me," he said.
Bates needed only to keep the rally alive to be confident of winning the point. He never looked back once he had broken for a 3-2 first-set lead and was able to survive scares in the eighth game when Zoecke had two chances to draw level.
Hampshire's Chris Wilkinson went down 6-4, 6-0 to Tommy Ho, of the United States. His own assessment was that he was "pathetic" and he was also grateful to blame the balls: "Now you come to mention it they were slow, especially for someone like me." David Wheaton, the ninth seed who once made the runners-up spot here, also went out, beaten 6-2, 4-6, 6-1 by Jared Palmer.
Latest in Sport
Chelsea vs Manchester United: Jose Mourinho dismisses United injury worries, saying 'they have an amazing squad'
Aaron Hernandez: American Football in the dock as NFL star player's murderous double life is revealed
Chelsea vs Manchester United: Why Blues are the least popular team in the league
Arsene Wenger compares talk of Jurgen Klopp replacing him at Arsenal to a 'circus'
Chelsea vs Manchester United combined XI: Thibaut Courtois or David De Gea? Juan Mata or Willian? Who makes our team?
- 1 BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
- 2 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 3 18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
- 4 'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a white stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
Russian warships in English Channel 'to conduct anti-aircraft and anti-submarine military drills'
£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...
£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Service Only Engineers are requ...
£23600 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Employability Service withi...