Tennis: Navratilova forced to take test of the fine art of surfaces

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MARTINA NAVRATILOVA announced yesterday that she will enter next week's Volkswagen Cup at Eastbourne and simultaneously her grass-court preparation suffered another hit, writes Richard Eaton from Birmingham. The 36-year-old, who still believes she can extend her record of Wimbledon singles titles to 10 despite her shock defeat by Kristine Radford of Australia on Wednesday, had to compete on another surface at the Edgbaston Priory Club yesterday.

A continual downpour forced play at the DFS Classic indoors and Navratilova and her doubles partner Lori McNeil had to adapt to the slightly higher bounce and utterly different ambience of a Supreme synthetic surface.

Navratilova's consolation is that she may get up to six singles matches on grass next week at Eastbourne. That will make a total of eight on grass.

Whether or not that will be enough - after spraining an ankle in February and playing only three tournament matches between then and the start of this week - is doubtful. But Zina Garrison Jackson, who Navratilova beat three years ago in her last succesful Wimbledon final, believes Navratilova still cannot be counted out. 'You can't rule Martina out. It could be the most open of Wimbledons, with Monica out and Steffi injured - and I certainly hope so,' said Garrrison Jackson, who now has a quarter-final with a former Edgbaston title-holder Pam Shriver.

Garrison Jackson, the only woman to win a singles match yesterday, looked slim, fit and back to her best while beating Katrine Adams, a regular sparring partner from her home city of Houston, 6-3, 6-2. On current form, she will beat Shriver; twice yesterday she produced forehand passing shots from almost on the next-door court, and throughout, she looked mentally tough. 'It's a matter of heart,' said Garrison Jackson. 'That's what makes Monica so good. She has a heart of stone.'