CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Julius Erving watched his daughter Alexandra Stevenson play tennis for the first time Tuesday in a first-round loss at the Family Circle Cup.[+] EnlargeAP Photo/Mic SmithJulius Erving watched his daughter, Alexandra Stevenson, play tennis for the first time.
Erving, wearing a black sweatsuit and a black and white baseball cap, watched from the porch of the players' clubhouse as Stevenson lost on clay to Akul Amanmuradova of Uzbekistan 6-2, 6-4.
Asked if it was the first time the basketball great had seen her play, Stevenson said, "Yes, that is true. And I actually didn't see him until the second set."
It's been a decade since the 28-year-old Stevenson learned that Dr. J was her father, about the time she made the Wimbledon semifinals.
"We were never in a bad place, I just didn't know him," Stevenson said. "So it's good now. I mean, obviously, it's still odd because you're getting to know somebody. But it's nice that I know him, and he's supporting me out here, coming to watch me play."
Erving did not speak to reporters as he left the clubhouse.
It was a better day for two other Americans. Bethanie Mattek-Sands advanced with a 7-6 (3), 7-5 win over Marina Duque Marino of Colombia, and unseeded Shenay Perry upset 15th-seeded Barbora Zahlavova Strycovia of the Czech Republic 7-5, 6-1.
Stevenson said her father had wanted to see her play for some time. He came to the Family Circle because it's close to Atlanta.
"He lives in Atlanta. So it's four hours," she said, adding that her father knows Family Circle tournament director Bob Moran.
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Stevenson said Dr. J has a greater appreciation for tennis.
"He can see how hard tennis is," she said, laughing. "It's not like basketball where you have a whole team of support. So it's nice he came out here."
Third-seeded Vera Zvonareva defeated Rossana De Los Rios of Paraguay 6-3, 6-2; Nadia Petrova, seeded fourth, defeated Patricia Mayr of Austria 6-1, 2-6, 6-2; and No. 9 Aleksandra Woziak of Canada defeated American Abigail Spears 6-3, 4-6, 6-0.
Defending champion Serena Williams withdrew after sustaining a leg injury in Miami this month.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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