1986 Virginia Slims Championships

Navratilova and Mandlikova wrote history at the Madison Square Garden

New York City, March 23, 1986

In the $500,000 Virginia Slims Championships final, Martina Navratilova defeated Hana Mandlikova in a historic four-set match, the first since 1901. Despite Navratilova’s victory, women’s tennis continued to be seen as dominated by one player, with others vying for second place. Navratilova’s win earned her $125,000, bringing her total earnings to $10,429,674. Mandlikova, who won the doubles title with Turnbull, collected $60,000 as the runner-up to improve her earnings for the week to $117,500.

Ceremony Navratilova Mandlikova 1986 Virginia Slims Championships

First Round Hana Mandlikova vs Zina Garrison

Resilience on the Court: Hana Mandlikova’s Triumph Over Injury and Garrison in 1986 Virginia Slims Championships

When New York last saw Hana Mandlikova, she was raising her arms in the most unexpected of triumphs, having beaten both Chris Evert Lloyd and Martina Navratilova to win the U.S. Open. But that was in September and this is March, and Hana is yet another pro athlete who has had to live, and adjust, to injury.

“Right now, I’m very tired,” Mandlikova said last night after coming from far behind to defeat Zina Garrison, 2-6, 6-3, 6 2, in the first round of the Virginia Slims Championship at the Garden.

“I have two days of rest coming up, and I need it very badly.”

Mandlikova needed six full weeks of rest and rehabilitation at the start of this year, after her right shoulder started bothering her with a case of tendinitis.

Her ranking slipped from No. 3 to No. 5, and it wasn’t until three weeks ago that she began to play tournaments again. A tough cookie As she proved last night, the Czech player is still one tough cookie to crumble. Down a set and a service break at 1-3 in the second set, Mandlikova began applying pressure at the net and hitting some wicked backhand angled volleys that eventually wore down the shaky Garrison.

Mandlikova 1986 Virginia Slims Championships

Mandlikova, who advanced to a quarterfinal battle with Kohde-Kilsch, played sloppily as she lost the first set, dropping the sixth and eighth games, then fell behind 3-1 in the second set after breaking Garrison’s serve to begin the set. From then on, however, Garrison could win only two more games as Mandlikova’s game came alive, firing pin-point perfect passing shots off both sides and showing her agility at the net with well-placed volleys. Garrison never backed off, but she just didn’t have enough artillery to fight off the Mandlikova.

. “This was not a great match, but I won by fighting and trying very hard,” Mandlikova said.

“I think when she had the lead, it began playing on her nerves.” Garrison committed a key double-fault at deuce in that fifth game, then double-faulted twice in the seventh game when Hana broke her again. Mandlikova was about to run off eight straight games and take control of the match.

“She started playing the way I should’ve been playing,” Garrison said.

“She came in more, and I stopped coming in. I keep playing the top players very close, but I haven’t taken them all the way.” A scary moment There was one more frightening moment for Hana. In the seventh game of the final set. she hit her delicate right shoulder with her own racket. “That hurt, but it didn’t bother the injury,” Mandlikova said.

Quarterfinals Hana Mandlikova vs Claudia Kohde-Kilsch

A fired-up Hana Mandlikova in 1986 Virginia Slims Championships

Ceremony Navratilova Mandlikova 1986 Virginia Slims Championships

Hana Mandlikova had lost the first set, and now she was losing her grip. After a tough line call and a netted volley, she launched a ball into the stands that nearly bopped a spectator in the face.

“If you heard what I say to myself inside, you wouldn’t believe it,” Mandlikova said

She rallied for a 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 quarterfinal victory over Claudia Kohde-Kilsch last night in the Virginia Slims Championships at the Garden.

“I can’t tell you. It’s too bad.”

But somehow, all the whining, the screaming and the despairing glances at coach Betty Stove worked.

Mandlikova, a McEnroe-esque terror in this tournament, broke Kohde-Kilsch in the eighth game of the second set to play her way back into another match, having lost the first set to Zina Garrison in her first match before rallying. Last night, in the decisive third set, Mandlikova fought off a break point in the eighth game, then broke Kohde-Kilsch’s serve at love in the 11th.

“I was very energetic, very fired up,” Mandlikova said. “I figured if i went hard at every point, I’d win.”

And she did, despite one last self-destructive tantrum in the 12th game. Leading 6-5 and at 30-all, Mandlikova believed her first serve was an ace.

It was called out, and she was so upset she quickly double-faulted into the net But Mandlikova, who did not serve well all match, ran off the last three points on a winning forehand volley sandwiched between two returns that were long by Kohde-Kilsch.

Mandlikova will meet second-seeded Chris Evert Lloyd in today’s second semifinal after top-seeded Martina Navratilova faces Steffi Graf at noon. Evert dropped the first set of her quarterfinal last night to Helena Sukova. 1-6. before winning the next two easily, 6-1, 6-1.

Miss Mandlikova is not to be underestimated. She is the player considered most capable of defeating Mrs. Lloyd and Miss Navratilova. She had been overlooked entering the Slims championships, in part because of the fuss created by the 16-year-old Miss Graf, and also because she is not yet in top form, having missed six weeks because of tendinitis in the right shoulder. She said the injury has made her a bit tentative on her serve, and that was evident last night. Miss Mandlikova converted 61 percent of her first serves, had two aces and 15 service winners. She double-faulted four times and allowed Miss Kohde-Kilsch to attack her serve too often.

Mandlikova’s match against Kohde-Kilsch figured to be as close as it was. Kohde-Kilsch, the West German, came in ranked fourth, although she has never won a Grand Slam event, while the fifth-seeded Mandlikova has won the French and U.S.

The two women had played each other six times, each winning three. .

Afterward, Mandlikova hinted she should be ranked a bit higher than she is.

“I just play’ “I dont want to name names, but there are some players playing with the computer (by) deciding which tournaments to enter,” she said. “I’m not that kind of player. I just play.”

Mandlikova, obviously, is no shrinking violet In a doubles match earlier in the tournament she yelled at her own partner, Wendy Turnbull, for contradicting her protest on a line call. At the press conference yesterday, she played an elaborate hoax on reporters with a long story about an incident at a supermarket that she finally admitted was a fable.

Ceremony Navratilova Mandlikova 1986 Virginia Slims Championships

“Sometimes, I hurt myself when I get upset when I should keep it inside,” the 24-year-old Mandlikova said of her erratic behavior. “Maybe that will come with age”.

Semifinals Hana Mandlikova vs Chris Evert-Lloyd

Hana Mandlikova Battles Past Chris Evert Lloyd in front of  a record attendance in 1986 Virginia Slims Championships

Hana Mandlikova, in her eighth year playing professional tennis in the United States, says she is just learning some of the more informal parts of the English language. After upsetting Chris Evert Lloyd, 6-3, 7-5, yesterday in the semifinals of the Virginia Slims Championships at Madison Square Garden, Mandlikova was reminded of her U.S. Open victory last summer in Flushing Meadow.

Ceremony Navratilova Mandlikova 1986 Virginia Slims Championships

“Yeah, I’m starting to own this town, huh?” she said. “Isn’t that what you say?”

“I like playing in New York, that is for sure,” Mandlikova said. “I like the people. They seem to know a lot about tennis. I like them.” It was a curious remark, considering yesterday’s Garden crowd of 16,549 spent the afternoon cheering for Lloyd and hooting Mandlikova. “I don’t like it when they root against me,” she said.

“But maybe it will be different in the final.” Lloyd’s fans had only a brief opportunity to applaud their favorite. Mandlikova, ranked fifth in the world, bashed the second-seeded Lloyd around the court for 16 games with a variety of aggres sive passing shots and solid ground strokes. Up 5-2 in the second set, Mandlikova was serving for the match when Lloyd suddenly put some life in her strokes.- With the crowd growing increasingly loud, Lloyd broke Mandlikova twice and evened the set at 5-5. At the conclusion of that game, Mandlikova was penalized for a “an audible obscenity.” Reporters at courtside heard no such remark, but net court judge Gail Borden reported to umpire Marc Taylor that Mandlikova had uttered a four-letter word.

Mandlikova through the first set in 34 minutes, although Lloyd fought off five set points before falling.

The eventual winner began the match by breaking Lloyd in the second game to grab a 2-0 lead. Then, in the third game, Mandlikova hit a backhand down the line that was called good, making the scored 30-30. But Lloyd complained bitterly and Mandlikova gave her the point, making it 15-40. Lloyd then won the next point to break back. But Mandlikova broke in the eighth game, then held through four deuces to close out the set.


With a crowd of 16,549, the largest ever to watch an all-women’s tennis match, solidly in Lloyd’s corner, Mandlikova raced out to a 4-1 lead, breaking her 31-year-old opponent in the third and fifth games. Then Lloyd began a spirited comeback, breaking Mandlikova in the sixth game. The Czech broke right back, making it 5-2, and was serving for the match when Lloyd broke her service again. When Lloyd held, it was 5-4, and when she broke Mandlikova’s serve -once again, it was 5-5. On the final point of that game, Lloyd lifted a forehand lob as the acrobatic Mandlikova slipped and fell on the indoor carpet.

Umpire Marc Taylor, after consulting with net cord judge Gail Borden, then assessed Mandlikova a Code of Conduct warning for audible obscenity. “I didn’t say nothing,” Mandlikova said. “It was obvious that she and him (Taylor) were trying to upset me. I was really upset when Chris broke back at 5-all, but I tried to use my anger in the right way. I got fired up.” She broke Lloyd in the 11th game, then held her own serve at 15 to close out the match in one hour, 32 minutes.

“Years ago, she probably would have cracked,” Lloyd said of her conqueror


 “She lost her temper for a second, but she was able to regain her composure and make some good shots.” Graf, the No. 3 seed, was no match for Navratilova.

After her victory over Chrissie, Hana came back on court to play Doubles finals. With Wendy Turnbull, they previously defeated defending champions Navratilova and Shriver on semi finals, and this Saturday night, they played against Claudia Kohde-Kilsch and Helena Sukova one of the most exciting match of the whole week to clinch the tittle after a tight three-setter.

Final Hana Mandlikova vs Martina Navratilova

The Battle at Madison Square Garden: Navratilova Secures Victory Over Mandlikova in  1986 Virginia Slims Championships Final

Five and a half months ago, Hana Mandlikova stole the concrete of Flushing Meadows from the No. 1 women’s tennis player in the world. But, Mandlikova will have to wait to gain the bragging rights to one of Queens’ neighboring boroughs.

Martina Navratilova retained her firm hold on Manhattan yesterday, destroying Mandlikova 6-2, 6-0, 3-6, 6-1 to gain her third consecutive singles title in the $500,000 Virginia Slims Championships at Madison Square Garden. Besides avenging her shocking U.S. Open loss to Mandlikova, Navratilova earned the richest purse in women’s tennis 125,000. A day earlier, she clinched the Virginia Slims Series points race to win the bonus pool of $250,000. “This is the icing on the cake,” said Navratilova.

“The pressure was off because Chris (Evert Lloyd) was already out. It’s always sweet to win in New York before a big crowd that appreciates tennis.” Evert Lloyd, defeated 6-3, 7-5 by Mandlikova in the semifinal round, was scheduled to meet Steffi Graf in a third-place singles match. She withdrew, citing exhaustion. Pam Shriver played Graf in an exhibition match prior to the final. Navratilova’s one hour and 47 minute meeting with Mandlikova, the fifth seed, certainly was a show one of power for the 16,108 in attendance.

The crowd, second largest ever in women’s tennis, also witnessed history being made when the best three-of-five match went into a fourth set. The last time a match went more than three sets was July, 1901, when Elizabeth Moore beat Myrtle McAteer 6-4, 3-6, 7-5, 2-6 and 6-2 in Philadelphia. The favored 29-year-old lefthander used strong first serves, including nine aces and well-placed passing shots to dismantle fellow native Czech Mandlikova, four years her junior. Mandlikova broke Navratilova just once in the first set to tie it, 2-2. Navratilova replied by bridging a string of 10 points in games five through seven.

The second set followed the same pattern except Mandlikova, who won a mere five of 25 points, seemed even more overwhelmed by her opponent’s serves. “Martina started out very tough and played extremely well in the first two

sets,” explained Mandlikova, a native of Prague. “She served a high percentage of first serves. It was hard to break her or do anything. I was slicing a lot on my own serves and she was passing me a lot.

“It was the best she ever played against me. She was fired up. She played so well it was hard to lift your own game up.”

To be exact, Navratilova served an impressive 70 percent for the entire match and won 52 of 72 points on first serve. Add to that nine aces and Mandlikova had little time to lift her racket, much less her game, up. When the talented righthander did get on top of her serves and subsequently her game, she was hard to stop.

The whistling sideline shots and determination that claimed her the U.S. Open title last September appeared in the 32-minute third set. Mandlikova broke Navratilova in the fourth game and went ahead 3-1 with a dazzling array of shots. She returned twice to the sideline, sent a forehand into the corner and wrapped it up with a backhand drop shot. In the seventh game, it was a similar display, except Mandlikova added two aces.

Before Navratilova surrendered the history-spurring set, she took Mandlikova to deuce six times in the eighth game. The set was finally completed when the WTA’s fifth-ranked player caused the hardhitting Navratilova to do the unusual return once long and twice wide.

“Hana is such a great shotmaker,” said Navratilova. “She leaves you sort of flat-footed even when she doesn’t hit a winner. I’ve learned to expect anything.You’re always wondering where she’s going to hit her next screamer.”

Mandlikova never got the chance. Navratilova took charge in the third game of what would be the concluding set.

NOTES: *Sunday’s crowd was the second highest in women’s tennis history and lifted the seven-day tournament figure to a record 88,181… *Navratilova served well enough to ace two second serves… Her percentage was 70 compared to Mandlikova’s 69 but Navratilova had 18 service winners to Hana’s six… Navratilova had a 113-76 edge in approaches to the Net…



  • New York City – March 17-23, 1986
  • $500,000 – Madison Square Garden – Indoor Sporteze

seeded #5

  • R1 : + Zina Garrison 2-6 6-3 6-2
  • QF : + Claudia Kohde Kilsch(4) 4-6 6-3 7-5
  • SF : + Chris Evert-Lloyd(2) 6-3 7-5
  • F : – Martina Navratilova(1) 2-6 0-6 6-3 1-6

/ Wendy Turnbull

  • R1 : + Gigi Fernandez/Robin White 6-4 6-3
  • SF : + Martina Navratilova/ Pam Shriver(1) 4-6 6-3 6-4
  • F : + Claudia Kohde-Kilsch/ Helena Sukova(2) 4-6 7-6 6-3