| Young fans wait to get autographs following the fourth-round match between South Africa’s Wayne Ferreira and Armenia’s Sargis Sargsian in Melbourne Sunday. (AFP )
Melbourne: Martina Navratilova loves the airport security guards and mangoes. She dislikes the food and toilet paper.
The greatest women’s player of all time returned to the Australian Open for the first time since 1989 this week and bowed out in the third round of the doubles on Sunday. After Navratilova and doubles partner Svetlana Kuznetsova lost to Serena and Venus Williams, the 46-year-old was asked questions on a wide range of issues.
“The people here are just fantastic,” said Navratilova. “It’s a pleasure to be here. The attitude, for example, at being at the airport and going through security — in the States it has become such a nightmare because people have such an attitude.”
And now, the bad news. “They could improve the food (at the tournament). The food could use some improvement.”
The toilet paper was not good either, she said.
“Then when I played the Gold Coast tournament they said: ‘Why did you really come to Australia'’ I said it’s mango season and the local council sent me boxes of mangoes.
Sticking with Kim
Despite losing 3-6, 2-6 to Venus Williams, Australian Nicole Pratt is not among those forecasting a fourth straight Grand Slam final between the Williams sisters.
“I think I’ll stick with Kim (Clijsters),” was Pratt’s prediction for Australian Open women’s champion.
She saw Venus as “a little bit shaky in different areas”.
The British Chamber of Commerce is trying to recruit fans for the Davis Cup tie against Australia in Sydney next month.
Britain had just one entrant at the Australian Open, and she was in the women’s draw.
With Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski missing, Britain’s hopes rest with unknowns Miles MacLagan and Alex Bogdanovic. Australia will be served by Hewitt and Mark Philippoussis.