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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 June, 2004, 19:19 GMT 20:19 UK
Navratilova bid ends
By Nick Crowther
BBC Sport at Wimbledon

Martina Navratilova
Martina Navratilova's return to singles at Wimbledon ended in the second round against Gisela Dulko of Argentina.

Dulko upset Jelena Dokic in the first round but looked unnerved about facing the legend on a packed Court Three.

Navratilova forced a series of errors to break for 3-1 and Dulko sent a return wide to lose the first set 6-3.

The 47-year-old was coming into the net at every chance, but Dulko passed her for vital breaks in the second and third on her way to a 3-6 6-3 6-3 win.

Navratilova admitted she had lost to the better player but left the court with some regrets.

"The level wasn't as high as it could been," said Navratilova.

Practice is over and now the real tournament starts - it was always about the doubles
Martina Navratilova
"That's why I'm disappointed - that I didn't play my best tennis.

"It was difficult out there. The conditions were horrendous. I won the first set feeling horrible.

"I've never played in conditions when the sun was that low and that bright.

"However, she beat me fair and square, she played better tennis from the baseline."

Navratilova repeated her assertion that she had only used singles as preparation for the doubles.

"Practice is over and now the real tournament starts," she said.

"It was always about doubles and mixed and let's see if I can win one of those."

Dulko was the player who beat Navratilova at the French Open last month, but the Argentine said the experience was very different on grass.

"It was a totally different game," said Dulko.

"She has the serve and volley here which is unbelievable.

"At first I was in shock and a little bit nervous but I started to return better.

"From the beginning of the second set I felt like her level went down a little bit, I don't know if she was tired, but I also played better."

Navratilova insisted that "fatigue had nothing to do with it" but said it was unlikely she would play singles during the US hard court season because it is "rough" on the body.


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