WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND, JUNE 28 -- Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova met 80 times over 17 years on the tennis court, but today they met in a way they never expected to.

The retired Evert was a guest in the Royal Box at Wimbledon during Navratilova's match. That led to a most ironic moment: As Navratilova entered the court, she turned and performed the obligatory curtsy to the royals and their guests. As she dropped her knee, she hunted for Evert, seated in the third row.

"I knew she was going to be there, so I was looking for her," Navratilova said. "But you can only hold that pose for so long."

Navratilova finally spotted Evert in mid-match. As she left after a 6-2, 6-3 victory, she performed the obligatory second curtsy, giggling and pointing at Evert.

Evert and Navratilova live in Aspen, Colo., so they see each other frequently. But Navratilova said she misses Evert's locker-room companionship.

"I do," she said. "I get to curtsy to her, but it's not the same as talking to her from one bathtub stall to the next, yelling at one another, throwing soap at each other." Summertime Slims

It was announced that the Virginia Slims of Washington will have a new date and site next year. The tournament will be held Aug. 19-25, a week before the U.S. Open, at the William H.G. FitzGerald Tennis Center, which should make it a desirable tuneup event.

The tennis center bears a remarkable similarity to Flushing Meadows, with the same court surface and stadium atmostphere. . . .

No. 7 Brad Gilbert, in the third round here, is amid his best Grand Slam event since the 1987 U.S. Open, in which he lost to Jimmy Connors in the quarterfinals. He suffered first- and second-round losses in his next three majors while recovering from ankle surgery. . . .

Juan Aguilera is playing in his first grass-court event. The clay-court specialist's presence in the third round is all the more surprising since he lost to a qualifier in the second round of the French Open.