Jana Novotna last seen in England being comforted by royalty afterdramatically losing in the final at Wimbledon, yesterday withdrew from the singles in the women's tournament at Eastbourne, raising doubts about her return to participation on the lawns of the All England club next week.
Novotna, the runner-up to Steffi Graf at Wimbledon last year and seeded fifth this time, has tendinitis in the biceps of her right arm. 'I am worried about Wimbledon because one day it feels better and the next it feels worse,' she said. The complaint first surfaced three days before last month's French Open.
Britain's Claire Taylor, 19 and ranked 461 in the world, beat the 64th-ranked American Shaun Stafford 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 in a match where Stafford was lucky not to receive a warning for abuse of the umpire.
The former world No 1 Tracy Austin, returning to the scene of her 1983 career-ruining injury, was also defeated in the first round. Austin, 31, was beaten 6-3, 6-4, by Kristine Radford, of Australia.