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Guga says boycott would be catastrophic for tennis

Three-time French Open champion Gustavo Kuerten says a boycott of Grand Slams would be catastrophic for tennis.

india Updated: Jun 24, 2003 16:53 IST

Three-time French Open champion Gustavo Kuerten says a boycott of Grand Slams would be catastrophic for tennis.

Around half of the world's top 100 players are believed to support in principle the idea of a boycott of top events such as Wimbledon unless their claim for a higher percentage of receipts is forthcoming in prizemoney.

But Brazil's Kuerten thinks if the threat became reality it would potentially ruin the game.

"A boycott would be a catastrophe for the game, possibly the worst thing you can imagine.

"It would have to be something really important for us to decide not to play - but we are not satisfied with the way things are at the moment," admitted the 26-year-old, who is back at Wimbledon this year after three years away owing to his own dislike of grass.

"There needs to be more talks with the organisers, and maybe not through the ATP, to see exactly what is going on but we all need to try and take the game forward," added the samba star, who reached the second round on Monday after Dutch rival John Van Lottum retired injured.

The ATP demanded a 150 percent increase in funding from Grand Slam event organisers during last month's French Open - a move which sparked outrage among the organisers, who rejected the claim out of hand.

All England Club chairman Tim Phillips said: "The four Grand Slams are not-for-profit organisations which already invest their profits back into the grass roots of the game, both domestically and internationally.

"By this means, the four Grand Slams have so far invested 15million pounds into the grass roots in the developing world, including other international professional tennis events.

But ATP chief executive Mike Miles said his organisation was keen to change the current cash distribution system.

"The players are united in their belief that the Grand Slams' support for professional tennis is not equitable given their enormous commercial success," said Miles.

"Nobody wants alternative events but we need to be prepared to take action."

Kuerten meanwhile said he is struggling to adapt from the clay.

"It's tough to adapt our game to the grass easily. Sometimes it's a bit of a rush for the claycourt guys. It takes a little longer for us to get into our game. We need to get one or two wins to feel a little bit better."

First Published: Jun 24, 2003 16:53 IST