WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND, JULY 2 -- Tennis fathers got a rap on the knuckles the other day from Martina Navratilova, who called them poorly equipped to be coaches and generally detrimental to their children's tennis welfare.
A number of highly ranked young players have used their fathers as coaches, supervisors or managers, including 21-year-old Steffi Graf (Peter), 16-year-old Monica Seles (Karolj), 14-year-old Jennifer Capriati (Stefano), and 15-year-old Mary Pierce (Jim).
"I could get in some hot water here," Navratilova said. "I'm 33 years old, and I still have a hard time dealing with my father when it comes to playing tennis. . . . How do you argue with your parents? You can't. You have to be able to talk with your coach on a one-to-one basis, and you can't do that with your parents. You know, you're always their little girl. I'm still my daddy's little girl. And with these 14-, 15-, 16-year-olds, they have absolutely no voice in what goes on in their lives.
"I definitely don't think they should be coaching because for one thing, they're not that good. Okay, they read some books. They think they're great. You can't talk to them . . . hopefully the father will stay in the background. Peter Graf is the exception to the rule where it actually has worked."An Odd Reunion
Longtime rivals Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe toyed with the idea of a coaching partnership on NBC-TV Sunday afternoon. McEnroe was discussing why he doesn't have a coach when commentator Bud Collins pointed to Connors and said, "What about this guy?" Connors and McEnroe smiled and chatted for a moment about the possibility, then shook hands as if to strike a deal.
Too bad they weren't serious. Connors, who will be 38 in September, might be the ideal person to coach McEnroe, 31, back to prominence.
"I would call it banter," Collins said.
Another intriguing possibility: Navratilova as Seles's coach. The Yugoslavian baseliner suggested Navratilova could help her develop a bigger serve-and-volley game. Navratilova's reply: "I'm still trying to beat the girl." But she also hinted she might consider coaching when her playing career ends.Sour Grapes of Wrath
David Wheaton and Brad Gilbert do not get along. Wheaton gave a curt appraisal of Gilbert's game after his five-set loss to the seventh seed. Asked if he thought Gilbert could beat defending champion Boris Becker, Wheaton said, "No."
Asked to expand on that, Wheaton said: "He doesn't serve well enough, he doesn't volley well enough. I don't think his game's very good. He makes up for it with his mental ability."
Gilbert had a stinging response. He noted that he is No. 6 in the world while Wheaton is ranked No. 35, and that he has come from behind to beat him twice in two meetings.
"That's why he's 20 years old and 30 spots behind me in the rankings," Gilbert said. . . .
Kevin Curren was fined $500 for kicking a copying machine when his Friday doubles match was postponed.