- The Washington Times - Monday, September 2, 2002

NEW YORK (AP) As usual, nothing fazed Serena Williams on court.
With a man who's tracked her around the globe for a year sitting in a jail cell less than 10 miles away, Williams waited out a long rain delay yesterday and then eased into the U.S. Open quarterfinals with a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Daja Bedanova.
The only match completed in a short break from yesterday's downpours was the 18th straight Grand Slam match victory for the top-seeded Williams, who beat older sister Venus in the finals at Wimbledon and the French Open.
The same German man accused of following Williams at those two tournaments, and others in Germany and Italy, was arrested early Saturday at the National Tennis Center after police spotted him watching through a fence while she played.
Albrecht Stromeyer, 34, will remain in custody at Rikers Island until a court appearance on Thursday unless he posts $3,000 bail, corrections department spokesman Tom Antenen said. Stromeyer admitted in a written statement to police that he had been following Williams around the world.
"The bail is so low, I think that encourages him to keep doing what he's doing," Williams' father, Richard, said. "It makes me wonder, 'Could he hurt Serena?'"
He also wondered whether his daughter is as worried as she should be.
"This guy could have got in and hurt Serena," Richard Williams said. "I don't think Serena takes it seriously enough."
She has been traveling with a bodyguard since May, and tournament officials have been given photos of Stromeyer so police can spot him.
"The WTA could do a little bit more, but I don't know too much more that they can do because, you have to remember, tennis is not set up like baseball and football. The players go outside to practice and with those sports they can practice inside the stadium and travel underground, where tennis is not like that," Richard Williams said. "But I hope that it will help the WTA to take a good look at it."
Williams snapped photographs from the stands while he watched his daughter play her fourth-round match against the 20th-seeded Bedanova. Rain delayed the start of play from 11a.m. to a little after 5:30p.m., and theirs was the only match finished by the time new showers suspended action at about 7p.m. So people paying a minimum of $48 per ticket got to see 42 minutes of tennis.
If just one match is completed in a session, according to the Open's policy, no credits for tickets to next year's tournament need to be given.
At 9:50p.m., play was called off for the night, with matches involving Lindsay Davenport and Andy Roddick washed out completely. Among matches halted in progress: Four-time Open champion Pete Sampras was trailing 1997 finalist Greg Rusedski 5-4, on serve in the first set; No.3 Tommy Haas won the first set 6-4 against No.29 Thomas Enqvist; Gustavo Kuerten won the first set 6-1 against Nicolas Massu; and 11th-seeded Daniela Hantuchova led No.8 Justine Henin 6-1, 1-2.
The last time an entire day at the Open was rained out was Sept.4, 1988.
Williams won her first service game at love with the help of three straight aces and needed just 18 minutes to win the first set. She finished with eight aces.
"I've been really, really working on my serve," Williams said. "Once I serve well, my whole game goes up."
Bedanova, a quarterfinalist in the 2001 Open, made things easier for Williams by double faulting on break point in the first and fifth games of the match.
All told, Williams nearly had a winner per minute. She hit 35 winners total including 16 forehands and eight backhands and had just five unforced errors.
"Well, just my luck, I got out here around 9, because I like to practice two hours before the match," she said. "I was thinking, 'Yes, 11, I could be done by 12, have the rest of the day.' Unfortunately, it didn't work out that way."
She didn't talk about Stromeyer after the match, with WTA Tour spokesman John Dolan preceding her news conference by saying: "Serena will not be addressing any questions related to the stalker incidents due to legal and security reasons."
But in the past, she's said she doesn't let him bother her.
"I don't really pay any attention to anything like that," she said during Wimbledon, where police arrested him. "But I don't see how it could affect my game, him being arrested. I'm a strong person. I try not to let things like that affect me."


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide