Stefan Edberg, Ivan Lendl and Monica Seles all advanced at the $4 million Australian Open Thursday, but tennis seemed like an afterthought in the shadow of the war in the gulf.
Edberg, the world No. 1, rolled over Belgian Eduardo Masso 6-1, 6-2, 6-3.But as the 24-year-old Swede told his coach, "What's it matter how you hit a backhand, now that the war has started?"
News of the war broke in Melbourne minutes before play began on Centre Court. It overshadowed the rest of the day.
Despite the distraction, Edberg was never threatened by Masso, nor by the surroundings of Court No. 2.
"I felt quite good today," Edberg said. "I thought I played a little better than my first match."
Edberg said the wind and cooler weather were no problem.
"At least (the wind) is coming from one direction, which is a good thing. Sometimes it swirls around," he said.
Lendl, the defending champion but seeded third behind Edberg and German Boris Becker, defeated unseeded Scott Davis of Largo, Fla., 7-6 (7-3), 6-3, 6-2. He was less happy playing outside on Court No. 1 at Flinders Park.
"It was tough out there. The court has a different bounce from Centre Court, it's a little windy," Lendl said.
However, he said Davis's game didn't give him any trouble.
"He plays these crazy shots, and if he doesn't make them you beat him," Lendl said.
Unseeded Australian Richard Fromberg put up more of a fight, taking seventh-seeded Brad Gilbert of Oakland, Calif., to five sets.
Gilbert finally triumphed 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 6-0 to reach the third round.
Seles, the highest women's seed in action Thursday, dismissed Italian Cathy Caverzasio, the world No. 43, 6-1, 6-0.
German Anke Huber was responsible for the only dismissal of a seed Thursday.
She ousted seventh-seeded Swiss Manuela Maleeva-Fragniere 6-4, 6-4, but a string of other seeded women got through.