The D.C. National Bank Tennis Classic will change from clay to a hard surface for its 1987 tournament to try to draw a stronger field, especially more Americans, tournament co-chairman John Harris said yesterday.

"The main reason we want to change is that between Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, most players are not interested in playing on clay," Harris said. "The summer tournaments are basically a warmup for the U.S. Open a fast surface . . . and that's what we want to be."

The Men's International Professional Tennis Council recently approved the surface change for the Rock Creek Tennis Stadium in Northwest Washington. This year's tournament, scheduled for July 26 to Aug. 3 or 4, will be the last D.C. National played on clay. GOLF

Rose Elder, wife of Senior PGA star Lee Elder, said she was upset over Woodmont Country Club's refusal to allow her husband to participate in a season-opening "members-only" tournament scheduled today in Rockville. Elder was invited to play by club member Jeffrey Cohen, who was told by club officials the tournament was for members only.

"You don't refuse a pro of Lee's stature," said Rose Elder. "It was a slap in the face."

Cohen, in a statement read by an aide, said: "It's a members-only policy. The President could not play. There are no exceptions."

"I'm not upset, my wife is," Elder said.

Tony Marlowe, a pro at Woodmont, said: "This tournament has always been for members. We have others in which guests are welcome. He has been here many times before and can be my guest anytime."

Yesterday, Woodmont postponed the tournament for a week because of expected bad weather. FOOTBALL

A group that includes former U.S. Transportation Secretary Drew Lewis was reported to be ready to sign a $30 million deal for Sullivan Stadium, home of the New England Patriots of the National Football League. The Boston Herald said the investors -- who also include Philadelphia architect Fran Murray, brother of former Philadelphia Eagles General Manager Jim Murray -- is expected to sign a purchase-and-sale agreement with the Sullivan family, which owns the team and the property.

The Patriots public relations department, however, released a statement saying negotiations still were under way and there would be no comment on "the imminent signing of the agreement to sell Sullivan Stadium pending the resolution of several important issues."

Negotiations for sale of the team were reported to be delayed by three lawsuits against the Sullivans that are being considered by the Massachusetts state Supreme Court.

According to both the Herald and the Boston Globe, the deal includes subletting Foxboro Raceway and 220 acres of land that adjoin the stadium. The agreement was said to be the beginning of negotiations for eventual purchase of the team. COLLEGES

Former New York Yankees star Bobby Richardson has resigned as Coastal Carolina baseball coach to take over the baseball program at Liberty University. Richardson, who will replace 14-year major league veteran Al Worthington July 1, was most valuable player in the 1960 World Series.

Worthington will remain as athletic director . . .

Peter Berndt, the world-class swimmer from East Germany who defected last year and joined the Alabama swim team, has been disciplined and removed from a class for alleged misconduct, school officials said.

The action against Berndt, 21, a sophomore who left the East German swim team during a tour at Oklahoma City in January 1985, comes in the wake of a school record-setting performance in the NCAA championships last week.

A statement issued by the university relations office said Berndt on two occasions has admitted looking at another student's test paper in an English class and received reprimands. JURISPRUDENCE

The attorney for one of three former University of Minnesota basketball players accused of sexual assault has commissioned a survey to support his move to get their trial moved out of Madison, Wis.

Stanley Woodard, a public defender representing Kevin Smith, 21, said he would present the results of the survey during a hearing Friday, when he will try to get the trial moved to Milwaukee. "I believe the news coverage has been sensationalistic and has inflamed the facts and circumstances allegedly surrounding the case," Woodard said.

Smith, Mitchell Lee, 21, and George Williams Jr., 19, are accused of repeatedly raping a woman Jan. 24 in a Madison hotel room after a Minnesota-Wisconsin basketball game . . .

Former NFL running back Willie T. Spencer has been sentenced to up to 15 years in prison for drug trafficking, his second drug-related conviction.

Spencer, 32, who played for the New York Giants in 1977-78 and the Minnesota Vikings in 1976, will be allowed to wait to begin serving his sentence until after he recovers from knee surgery performed March 7, said his lawyer, Lawrence Chappanar, in Canton, Ohio . . .

Prosecutors in the Bronx hosted a party to snare felony fugitives, but the effort was a flop. "We cast our net and it came back full of seaweed and boots," said Ed McCarthy, spokesman for the Bronx district attorney's office, which had hoped for scores of arrests. "We threw a party and nobody came."

The prosecutors were trying to catch 950 felony fugitives off base with a bogus offer of free tickets to the New York Yankees home opener.

The operation was inspired by successful stings elsewhere, including one in Washington, D.C., recently in which free Redskins tickets were offered. But only six showed up in New York and just one of them was wanted as a fugitive. Two others were arrested on other charges. HIGH SCHOOLS

Surrattsville's John Bates, a junior left-hander, pitched a one-hitter and struck out 16 in a 6-0 victory over visiting Dunbar. LOCALLY

A reception to salute the Washington Capitals will be held at the Touchdown Club Friday from 7 until 9 p.m.