Arthur Ashe, captain of the U.S. Davis Cup team, sat squeezed into the corner of a grandstand between courts No. 7 and 8 at Roland Garros this afternoon. He did not look happy.
One row above Ashe, standing on the top row for a better view, was Nick Bolletieri, the tennis guru from Florida. Before them, two of Bolletieri's charges, Jimmy Arias and Aaron Krickstein, were struggling.
"Nick, can't you signal Aaron to come in once in a while," Ashe said as Krickstein fell behind Spain's Fernando Luna. Just then, Krickstein charged in behind a forehand and promptly netted an easy volley.
"Maybe," Ashe said softly, "he should stay back."
Ashe flew in early Monday on a scouting trip. Between now and late July, he must select a Davis Cup team to face West Germany -- probably on clay courts -- in Hamburg in August. With John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors refusing to play Davis Cup rather than sign a new code-of-conduct agreement, Ashe is looking for singles players.
Paul Annacone, Brad Gilbert and Arias have lost in the first round here. Krickstein finally did win his match today, and Ashe finally did smile. "There's hope," he said, not sounding convinced. "Our guys just aren't used to this stuff. It's tough to be patient."