Bjorn borg was in devastating form as he romped into the third round of the French Open tennis championships yesterday. But he has surprisingly withdrawn from the chase for the $300,000 top prize in the 1978 Colgate Grand Prix.
Borg rounted Rick Fagel a former Columbia University No. 1 who is ranked 39th in the United States, 6-0, 6-1, 6-0, on a rather dull day at Stade Roland Garros, where play twice was interrupted by rain.
The Grand Prix withdrawal By Borg, Wimbledon champion the past two years, was confirmed by David Gray, general secretary of the International Tennis Federation and the Men's International Professional Tennis Council, which governs the Grand Prix tournament series.
"His agent (John Beddington of Mark McCormack's International Management Group) telephoned my office in London yesterday and informed me that Borg would not play the minimum 20 tournaments required to qualify for the Grand Prix pool," Gray told the Washington Post.
"The official reason given was that his recent spell of injury has disrupted his carefully prepared schedule for the year, and has a number of prior commitments to companies whose products he endorses which now have to be rescheduled."
Borg, 22 this week, has been sidelined twice in the past five weeks by infected blisters, one on a toe and the other on his right thumb. He is now recovered.
Borg also is playing Davis Cup for Sweden for the first time since 1975, when he led his nation to its first triumph in the international team competition. He played in a series against Ireland and is scheduled to travel to Belgrade for a series against Yugoslavia the week after the French Open. If Sweden wins that, it would play Spain in Sweden the week after Wimbledon.
"I think it's a great pity that Borg, as the No. 1 player in the world, is not going to compete for the Grand Prix top prize," Gray said.
'The schedule is a very hard one for an international champion who is in great demand, but tournament tennis is the game's chief advertisement and the Grand Prix was designed to offer an incentive to top players like Borg to compete as often as possible. Obviously, he has other priorities."
The importance of the Grand Prix point system has been undermined. Because some top players have shunned it in recent years in favor of other lucrative activities, including exhibition matches and World Team Tennis.
Borg's withdrawal gives fuel to critics of the Grand Prix rule requiring participation in at least 20 tournaments to qualify for the $2 million bonus pool, which offers cash prizes to the top 35 finishers in the season-long point standings scaled according to their order of finish.
In the upset of note yesterday, Brian Teacher - a 6-foot-3 serve and volleyer who has improved his groundstrokes enormously in the past year - ousted Jose Higueras a semi-finalist in the Italian Open last week, 6-2, 6-4, 6-3.
Horld Solomon completed a 7-6, 6-3, 6-7, 6-3 victory over Belus Prajoux in a match that was halted, luckily for him, by darkness Thursday evening.
Despite a bruise at the base of his right thumb suffered in a first-set fall, Solomon had numerous chances to win in straight sets. He has three set and three more as Prajoux served again at 5-4.
But in the 11th game, having let those opportunities get away, Solomon was seized by a cramp in his left calf.
"If it hadn't been getting dark, I could never have finished. I was like a pretzel," said Solomon runner-up here in 1976.
"Dennis Ralston, my coach, told me, 'Just keep moving. If you fall down and can't get up, they'll suspend the match overnight.'
"When he served for the set at 6-5, I just took four wild swings as the ball and hit four clean winners to make it 6-all. But in the tie breaker I could hardly walk," Solomon said. He last it, 7 points to 1.
At that point the match was postponed, and Solomon got a long rubdown. After dinner he returned to his hotel and, as he put it, "sat for an hour in a scalding hot bath."
Yesterday he felt a little tight in the legs, but he jumped to a quick 3-1 lead in the first set. Prapoux, who beat Solomon in the first round of a tournrament in Florence, Italy, two weeks ago, got back to 3-3, but Solomon ran off the last three games.
In other matches, Roscoe Tanner blasted French junior Pascal Portes, 6-3, 6-0, 6-1, and French No. 1 Partrice Dominguez defeated Hank Pfister in the best match of the day on the center court, 7-6, 5-7, 7-5, 6-2.