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Grand Slam Committee: ATP dispute over Grand Slam money damages tennis

The ATP's dispute over Grand Slam money has damaged the image of tennis and its players, the Grand Slam Committee said on Friday.

india Updated: Jul 05, 2003 12:25 IST

The ATP's dispute over Grand Slam money has damaged the image of tennis and its players, the Grand Slam Committee said onFriday.

The issue was discussed in a meeting of the chairmen of the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open tournaments this week at Wimbledon. Representatives of the ATP and WTA Tours were also present.

Two days before Wimbledon began, more than 80 male pros agreed to play in alternative tennis tournaments set up by the ATP if disagreements with the Grand Slam events about prize money and other issues weren't smoothed over.

"The publicity surrounding these activities has caused damage to the image of the sport and its players," a Grand Slam Committee statement said.

The Grand Slam Committee said it was "disappointed in ATP leadership's current unwillingness" to back off on its threat to play alternative tournaments. It said the threat would "have a negative impact on further discussions."

"However the GSC remains determined to have constructive and inclusive dialogue with all constituents on important issues in the sport."

The ATP issued a statement Friday saying its representatives will continue to negotiate with each Grand Slam individually about the players' requests for more money.

ODDS ON

Serena Williams is 4-11 favorite with British bookmaker William Hill to beat sister Venus in the Wimbledon final on Saturday. Venus is 2-1. Roger Federer is the 1-2 favorite to win the men's title on Sunday, with Mark Philippoussis at 6-4. ___

STILL SHOOTING FOR 20

Martina Navratilova won one _ and lost one on Friday.

She was eliminated from women's doubles when she and Svetlana Kuznetsova dropped their quarterfinal against Kim Clijsters and Ai Sugiyama 6-4, 2-6, 6-4.

But she won her mixed doubles quarterfinal, teaming with Leander Paes to defeat the American pair of Mike Bryan and Lisa Raymond 5-7, 7-6 (3), 6-4.

Navratilova is trying to match Billie Jean King's record of 20 Wimbledon titles. She has 19, tied with Elizabeth Ryan. King has six singles titles, 10 in doubles and four in mixed. Navratilova has nine singles titles, seven in doubles and three in mixed. Navratilova ranks second in career titles at all the Grand Slam events with 57: 18 in singles, 31 in doubles and eight in mixed doubles. The women's record is 62, held by Margaret Smith Court (24 singles, 19 doubles, 19 mixed).

HEWITT SLIPS

It hasn't been a good month for Lleyton Hewitt. He became only the second defending Wimbledon champion to lose in the opening round, going out against Ivo Karlovic. Now his ranking has slipped.

In three weeks, Hewitt's world ranking has dropped from No. 1 to No. 5.

Andre Agassi will stay No. 1 in the rankings that come out on Monday.

AUSTRALIAN STREAK

Mark Philippoussis is the eighth Australian man to reach the Wimbledon final in the Open Era. The other seven are: Rod Laver, Tony Roche, John Newcombe, Ken Rosewall, Pat Cash, Pat Rafter and Lleyton Hewitt. Laver won it '68 and '69, Newcombe in '70 and '71, Cash in '87 and Hewitt last year.

There has been an Australian semifinalist at Wimbledon for seven of the past eight years. It's also the fourth year in a row there's been an Australian in the final.

"Obviously just having your name on the trophy is a dream come true," Philippoussis said. "A lot of tennis players when they are kids, dream of winning Wimbledon. It's one of their favorite tournaments. It has been for me."

BOY TO MAN

Roger Federer is trying to become the first Wimbledon junior champion to go on to win the men's title since Stefan Edberg did it.

Federer won the boys' title in 1998, and he plays Mark Philippoussis on Sunday for the more coveted trophy. Edberg was the junior champion in 1983, then went on to win Wimbledon in 1988 and 1990.

The only other players to be boys' and men's champion are Bjorn Borg (junior in 1972, men's champion from 1976-80) and Pat Cash (junior in 1982, men's champion in 1987). 1976 to 1980) and Pat Cash, who won the boy's event in 1982 and the men's title in 1987.

NOTES

This is the first time since 1982 that both men's semifinals were completed in straight sets. The last two players to win in three sets were John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors. Connors won the title in '82 ... Roger Federer is the first Swiss man to reach a men's Grand Slam final ... Andre Agassi and Roger Federer have each won four ATP titles this year _ the most of any player.

First Published: Jul 05, 2003 12:25 IST