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Graf’s Neck Sticks Out At Wimbledon

July 3, 1996

WIMBLEDON, England (AP) _ Just what is that red mark on Steffi Graf’s neck?

``Steff’s Bite On The Side″ screamed a front page headline Wednesday in the Daily Star. The Daily Mirror carried a full-page photo of Graf with the spot on her neck circled in red, explaining that her boyfriend, race car driver Mike Bartels, was in town.

Asked during a press conference if the mark was an injury, Graf replied, ``No, no injuries.″

``Vampires?″ a reporter asked.

``Vampires, yes exactly,″ Graf replied.

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NO BORG-McENROE: The All England Club is apparently having trouble lining up a final fling for Court No. 1, which will be torn down after the championships and replaced next year by a new, larger arena.

Bjorn Borg has turned down an invitation to play an exhibition with John McEnroe on the court on the final day of the tournament Sunday.

``They haven’t made a decision yet if they’re going to have something or nothing to close that court,″ Wimbledon spokeswoman Carol Black said.

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HENMAN HYSTERIA: Tim Henman’s appearace in the Wimbledon quarterfinals _ the first Briton to make it that far in 23 years _ has generated a frenzy in the British tabloid press and a shortage on the sportswear market.

Typical of headlines Wednesday was the Daily Star’s ``Volley Good Fellow.″

Henman has played throughout the tournament in Adidas tennis whites, and reports say some 1.5 million pounds _ or some $2.25 million _ of the Henman stock has been sold over the last several weeks.

``We would normally expect what stocks we have to last us until October, but things have just gone crazy,″ said Simon Cartwright, spokesman for Adidas.

Newspapers said Henman figures to make up to $7.5 million in winnings and endorsements if he becomes the first British player to win the men’s title in 60 years. A punter named Eleanor Carless also stands to cash in.

The English woman placed a 20-pound bet two years ago with bookmakers William Hill at odds of 500-1 that Henman would win at Wimbledon before 2000.

``She’s obviously a real tennis talent spotter and will be celebrating in style if Tim goes all the way this year, or indeed at any of the next four Wimbledons,″ William Hill spokesman Graham Sharpe said.

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CHAMPAGNE DELAY: The rain wasn’t the only thing pouring Wednesday at Wimbledon.

The Champagne and Pimms bar at the All England Club enjoyed a hectic trade, despite prices ranging up to $82 a bottle.

``It’s been one of our busiest days of the Championships,″ said a member of the bar staff. ``Today has been incredible. People have sheltered here all day rather than go out into the rain. It’s been nonstop.″

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