Goran Ivanisevic admitted after his, 6-2, 6-2, defeat to Jan Vacek in the first round of the Stella Artois Championships here yesterday that the state of his elbow may force him to reconsider entering Wimbledon, where he was champion two years ago.
Ivanisevic took just 48 minutes to lose to the unseeded Czech and is going to have a scan on his left arm today. "With two weeks to go I hope I can manage something for Wimbledon," he said. "There is still time."
The Croat, who has not won a match in an ATP competition in over a year, refused to let his latest reverse affect his sense of humour. "If I cannot serve [at Wimbledon], then there is not much for me to do on the grass... perhaps I can cut it or help draw the lines, or even serve some strawberries.
"When I won Wimbledon I said to God, 'just let me win this tournament and I won't play another match'," Ivanisevic added. "He probably heard me. We're in negotiations at the moment and He is a tough negotiator."
Greg Rusedski's preparations for Wimbledon received further encouragement with a first-round victory over the 15th seed, Robby Ginepri.
Rusedski finished in style against the 20-year-old American, capturing the final set in just 17 minutes to win, 7-6, 3-6, 6-0. With an entire winter without competition behind him, Rusedski has the desire to play as much as he can both in this tournament where his best was a semi-final place in 1997 and at Nottingham next week.
Ginepri demanded a wide range of abilities from Rusedski, who lost a 3-0 lead in the first set. But once the American had come from behind in the second set to square the match, Rusedski lifted his game still further and the forehand down the line which turned his second match point into victory was a positive statement indeed.
In the second round he will face the Moroccan Hicham Arazi, who disposed of Andrei Stoliarov, of Russia, 7-6, 3-6, 6-3. The defending champion and world No 1, Lleyton Hewitt, takes on the 16th seeded Dutch player, Raemon Sluiter, after receiving a bye in the first round.