MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA, JAN. 17 (THURSDAY) -- Fifteen minutes after U.S. bombers struck Iraq today, Ivan Lendl and Scott Davis began their match at the Australian Open and fans chanted: "No more war. Give peace a chance."
A nervous, solemn and distracted mood gripped fans and players as the first Grand Slam event of the year continued second-round play.
Televisions at refreshment stands in the stadium showed American and Australian news reports of the fighting.
As President Bush spoke to Americans, fans crowded around the TVs. The sounds of tennis and announcements of the score of the Brad Gilbert-Richard Fromberg match could be heard over Bush's words.
Inside the stadium, fans in the sparse crowd listened to radio reports as they watched No. 7 Gilbert win, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 6-0.
"I came here to enjoy the day, but it's been blown away by what's happened in Baghdad," said one fan, Jeffrey Bowkett of Melbourne. "War is a serious business. But people need something to take their minds off the crisis. I'll stay today but I'll probably spend a lot of time here listening to the news."
Players from every Western nation involved in the Gulf crisis are participating in this week's highest profile international sporting event.
Lendl heard of the bombings just before walking on the court.
"That made it difficult, but once you're on the court you have to concentrate on tennis," said No. 3 Lendl, who won, 7-6 (7-3), 6-3, 6-2, to reach the third round as he goes after his third straight title here.
"We just have to hope there are as few casualties as possible, and that it's over quickly. If there are terrorist attacks, I'd be worried" about traveling.
A muted, somber crowd watched No. 1 Stefan Edberg win, 6-1, 6-2, 6-3, over Eduardo Masso.
Magnus Gustafsson found out about the war after his 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-0 victory over Wally Masur. "I was happy when I walked into the locker room, and a minute later I was crushed," he said. "I don't know how big this war is going to be, but of course I'm scared. Everyone is worried about traveling."
In the one big upset of the day, rising German star Anke Huber defeated No. 7 seed Manuela Maleeva-Fragniere, 6-4, 6-4.
In another display of political tension, a scuffle broke out between Yugoslavs and Croatian separatists in the stands, leaving one man bloodied from punches to the face.
Even before the fighting, the prospect of war dominated the thoughts and conversations of players.
On Wednesday, No. 2 Boris Becker played well despite the distraction, crushing Marian Vajda, 6-4, 6-1, 6-3, in the second round.
No. 4 Gabriela Sabatini routed Maria Ekstrand, 6-1, 6-1. No. 8 Zina Garrison rallied past Nana Miyagi, 2-6, 6-0, 6-2.