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Security measures difficult to miss

Published Oct. 9, 2005

The biggest security operation in Wimbledon history left every player with an unusual choice _ to turn or not to turn.

Tournaments officials, reacting to a spectator's stabbing of Monica Seles at a tournament in Germany two months ago, have turned players' chairs sideways to give the competitors a better view of the crowd during changeovers.

But many of the players, including Jim Courier, picked up their chairs and turned them to face the court Monday. Martina Navratilova, scheduled to make her debut today, says she'll also put her seat back the old way because she's been facing the court for 20 years and is "not about to change now."

Blue-blazered stewards, their eyes scanning the crowd with Secret Service-like precision, are stationed only a few feet away from the players, just behind the umpire's chair.

The stewards are part of the biggest security presence ever at the All England Club. About 1,000 police and other personnel patrolled the grounds Monday, with no major incidents reported. Police also rode mountain bikes outside the gates, mainly to deter scalpers.

Quick match

Lisa Raymond, who just turned pro after finishing her sophomore year at Florida, had the honor of winning the first match in the 100th year of women at Wimbledon. Because she plays so quickly, Raymond finished before any other women. She polished off Louise Allen 6-1, 6-2, in 50 minutes.

Her next match will be against former Gator Nicole Arendt. They are sharing a flat together, along with former Gator Shaun Stafford.

Short stay

After winning three matches to qualify for a spot in the Wimbledon draw, former University of South Florida star Mark Keil bowed out of the tournament with a first-round loss. Mark Petchey outlasted Keil 6-4, 6-7 (8-10), 6-1, 6-1.