Andrea Leand has suffered stress fractures in both ankles and ripped muscles in a shoulder and thigh. One day in Europe she woke to discover her knees were swollen to the size of cantaloupes. After recovering from two fractured vertebrae, she was again put on her back by food poisoning.
Life as a professional tennis player has not been all strawberries and cream for 20-year-old Leand of Brooklandville, Md. So she was not exactly shocked when a few days before tonight's start of the Virginia Slims tournament at George Washington University's Smith Center, she had an allergic reaction to a bee sting on the ring finger of her hitting hand.
"My mother thinks it's an omen," laughed Leand, a professional on the Women's Tennis Association circuit for three years and currently ranked No. 34. "She says, 'Andrea, don't you think somebody's trying to tell you something?' "
If the swelling in Leand's hand does subside, she faces the prospect of a first-round match against Martina Navratilova, the world's top-ranked woman player and the first seed among the 32 women competing for $150,000 in the tournament that runs all week, with the finals next Monday night. Their match is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday night.
Play begins tonight at 6, with three matches scheduled: sixth-seeded Claudia Kohde-Kilsch against Kathy Rinaldi, seventh-seeded Zina Garrison against Ann Henricksson and Terry Phelps against Pam Casale. The tournament winner will earn $28,000.
The other home area favorite, Kim Shaefer of Alexandria, had only slightly better luck in the first-round draw. Shaefer, ranked No. 58 in the world, is matched against Manuela Maleeva of Bulgaria. Maleeva is ranked sixth in the world and seeded fourth in this tournament after winning two tournaments in 1984, including an upset of Chris Evert Lloyd at the Italian Open.
Both Leand and Shaefer, 28, will need every ounce of home-court advantage they can extract from family and friends.
Twelve of the top 16 computer-ranked players in the world are competing in this tournament. Some play a serve-and-volley game. Others prefer the base line approach. Only two have been able to beat Navratilova in the last 19 months, and there is little reason to expect an upset of Navratilova here, particularly with the surface. It is called Sporteze, and is hard and fast, favoring strong servers like Navratilova.
The last to beat Navratilova was fifth-seeded Helena Sukova of Czechoslovakia, who ended the longest winning streak in tournament tennis history -- 74 matches -- last month at the Australian Open. At 6 feet 1 1/2, Sukova, 19, has power to challenge Navratilova, who won $2.2 million in prize money last year and had a streak of six straight Grand Slam titles.
The other player who might prevent the almost inevitable is Hana Mandlikova, the defending champion who is also from Navratilova's native Czechoslovakia. Mandlikova is ranked No. 3 on the computer and seeded second here. She beat Navratilova in a tournament in California last January.
A sentimental favorite is likely to be Gabriela Sabatini, 14, of Argentina. She turned professional at the last U.S. Open, where she became the youngest player ever to win a match.
Another youngster with a chance is Carling Bassett, 17, winner of $170,000 last year and ranked No. 11 in the world, though she is not seeded here.
Evert Lloyd, world's No. 2, passed up this 1985 opener. Also absent will be Baltimore's Pam Shriver, who has a shoulder injury.
Shriver usually plays doubles with Navratilova. She will be replaced here by Gigi Fernandez, 20, of Puerto Rico, who first came to Navratilova's attention last summer when she lost a three-set match to Shriver at Wimbledon.
Eleni Rossides, 16, of Washington moved a step closer to qualifying for the main draw of the Virginia Slims tournament by defeating Eileen Tell, of Aberdeen, N.J., 6-3, 6-4, at McLean Racquet Club yesterday.
Rossides, a senior at Sidwell Friends, can advance into the main draw by beating Grace Kim of Ridgewood, N.J., today at noon, also at McLean.
Rossides' first victory in the qualifying round was a 6-4, 6-4 defeat of Adriannia Villigran on Saturday. Kim advanced to yesterday's match by beating Pam Teeguarden, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.
Sabrina Goles, from Yugoslavia, will play Melissa Gurney in another qualifying final at noon today.