Jimmy Connors said he would not play in the U.S. Open after leg cramps forced him to retire from an exhibition match yesterday in New York against Ivan Lendl.
"I think it would better for me not to play the Open due to the fact that I don't think I can go out there and play the kind of tennis necessary to give it an all-out effort," Connors said after retiring at 1-1 in the third set of a quarterfinal at the WCT Tournament of Champions with leg cramps and heat exhaustion. He had won the first set, 6-3, and Lendl won the second, 7-5.
Andrei Chesnokov retired from his quarterfinal with Aaron Krickstein with an injured left knee. Chesnokov was leading, 6-3, 4-3.
Lendl and Krickstein will meet for the title. Lendl beat Henri Leconte, 6-7 (4-7), 6-3, 6-1, and Krickstein stopped Emilio Sanchez, 6-4, 7-6 (8-6). Leconte won four straight points to take the first-set tiebreaker. Lendl's break in the sixth game of the second set evened the match, and Leconte held only once in the third. Leconte had needed only two minutes and four points to finish a 6-0, 7-6 (9-7) win over Northwestern University's Todd Martin in a match delayed from Friday.
Connors, a five-time champion, has played in 20 consecutive U.S. Opens, second Vic Seixas (24). He reached the semifinals 12 straight times (1974-85), the most by any man.
"Unless something drastic happens, I will not play next week," Connors said. Asked what he meant by "drastic," he said, "Waking up and finding myself 10 years younger."
This was his first tournament since February, when he injured his left wrist, but he said it was conditioning that prompted his decision.
"I'm not in the condition necessary to go play the Open," he said. "That's the problem. I've only played for a short time, and . . . I'm not in tennis shape, and I know that."
With Connors visibly hobbled, Lendl began the third set by holding at love -- the match's fourth love game.
Connors, who will be 38 Sept. 2, ended a long point in the second game by sprinting to the net and lifting a winning forehand down the line. He then told umpire Kim Craven he was retiring from the match.
Hamlet Challenge: No.1 Stefan Edberg won twice to reach the finals in Commack, N.Y. He defeated Jonas Svensson, 6-4, 6-2, and No. 6 John McEnroe, 6-1, 6-4. Goran Ivanisevic, 18, advanced with wins over Pete Sampras, 7-6 (7-5), 6-3, and Guy Forget, 6-2, 1-6, 6-3.
"I started out tentatively," said McEnroe, who was broken at love in the first game. "He started out solidly. I missed chances which could have made a big difference." Edberg erased a 0-40 deficit to win the second set's first game -- after McEnroe had five chances to break.
Ivanisevic, with 18 aces and faced only one break point against Sampras, took control of the semifinal at 4-1 in the third set on a Forget double fault.
Pathmark Classic: Jennifer Capriati upset Zina Garrison, 6-1, 6-2, in 53 minutes, while Steffi Graf survived a challenge from unseeded Leila Meshki, 7-5, 6-3, despite having her serve broken three times in the first set in Mahwah, N.J.
Garrison, No. 4 in the world, is the highest-ranked player beaten yet by 13th-ranked Capriati. From 1-1, Capriati won 10 straight games as Garrison's volleying game went awry.
KISS 100 Invitational: Monica Seles recovered from slow starts in each set to beat Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, 6-3, 6-2, for the title. Seles, winner of 43 of 44 matches, won 11 of the last 14 games. Sanchez Vicario showed the effects of heat and Friday's late match -- she didn't win her semifinal against Mary Joe Fernandez until nearly midnight after Seles was extended to a third-set tiebreaker by NCAA champion Debbie Graham.
OTB: Ramesh Krishnan upset top-seeded Martin Jaite, 1-6, 6-3, 7-5, to advance to the finals in Schenectady, N.Y., against seventh-seeded Kelly Evernden who beat Brad Pearce, 6-2, 3-6, 6-4. The men's quarterfinals and semifinals were both played yesterday.
In the women's draw, qualifier Anke Huber reached her first singles final by beating Wiltrud Probst, 6-2, 6-0. Marianne Werdel upset No. 6 Mercedes Paz, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3.