Backlog hits Navratilova title hopes

Supertramp's hit single "It's Raining Again" could easily be the anthem of Wimbledon 2004, and all the rain breaks have brought back the reality of three matches in a day for the 47-year-old Martina Navratilova.

With intermittent showers wreaking havoc with yesterday's schedule at the All England Club, Navratilova faced the prospect of two mixed doubles matches and a women's doubles in the space of a few hours in her quest for a record 21st - or even 22nd - Wimbledon title. She shares the record of 20 titles with her former mentor, Billie Jean King.

The congestion has been exacerbated by the failure of Navratilova and her mixed doubles partner, Leander Paes, to convert two match points in an enthralling third-round match on Thursday night. Taking to Court 13 at just gone six o'clock against the Zimbabwe brother-and-sister pairing of Cara and Wayne Black, play was finally called to a halt at 9.10pm with the final set level at 10-10.

Navratilova and Paes, the defending champions, had two match points on the Wayne Black serve at 4-5, one of them a long and dramatic rally ending with Navratilova hitting a volley just wide. They also had a blazing row with the umpire Jeremy Shales in the next game after he refused to accept a line judge's wish to correct his call.

But Navratilova's biggest fury will be reserved for the lack of a conclusion to the match, which could hamper her chances of a record-breaking title in her final Wimbledon - she insists this is her last time, though we have heard that before.

Because of a convention which says players coming off court late at night should not normally be asked to complete an unfinished match at the start of the following day's play, yesterday's programme had her women's doubles semi-final as second on Court One. She and Lisa Raymond, the No 3 seeds, were due to face the fifth-seeded Liezel Huber and Ai Sugiyama. Navratilova was then due back on Court No 13 for the conclusion of her mixed doubles match, and if she and Paes won that, they were scheduled to face Rainer Schüttler and Barbara Schett in the quarter-finals.

Though Navratilova is the star attraction in the women's doubles, the top-seeded pair of Virginia Ruano Pascual and Paola Suarez are looking to make their own piece of history. They hold the US, Australian and French Open titles, and if they add this year's Wimbledon title, they will become the first pair to hold all four majors since Navratilova and Pam Shriver won their third pure Grand Slam in 1987. Ruano Pascual and Suarez were due to play their semi-final against Cara Black and Rennae Stubbs yesterday after the first of the two men's semi-finals between Mark Knowles and Daniel Nestor, and Julian Knowle and Nenad Zimonjic. The winner will play either Jonas Björkman and Todd Woodbridge, or an all-Australian pairing, Wayne Arthurs and Paul Hanley.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz