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Thursday, 16 November, 2000, 06:00 GMT
WTA under fire from Seles
Monica Seles
Monica Seles will not be performing again in Germany
BBC Sport Online's Stephen Wood is in New York for the Chase Championships and hears Monica Seles announce she will not play in Germany again.

Monica Seles, stabbed by a fan of Steffi Graf at the Hamburg Open in 1993, has vowed never to return to competitive tennis in Germany.

Her stance means that the Yugoslavia-born American is unlikely to play again in the season-ending world championships, which is moving from Madison Square Garden in New York to Munich, Germany, next year.

And Seles, who learned of the decision in American newspaper USA Today, has criticised WTA Tour officials for ignoring her feelings on the sensitive issue.

"I thought someone would have asked me or talked about it, but there was nothing," she said.

"A courtesy call would not have been too much trouble. The whole episode has hurt me personally."


Seles was stabbed below the left shoulder blade by Guenter Parche during a changeover in a quarter-final tie against Magdalena Maleeva at the Hamburg Open in April 1993.

Seles, then 19 years of age, was ranked number one in the world at the time, and Parche admitted that his actions were motivated by a desire to see Graf returned to the number one spot.

The whole episode has hurt me personally
  Monica Seles

Parche, a 38-year-old loner, was given a two-year suspended sentence on the grounds of dementia, and never served a day of a custodial sentence for the attack.

Seles, a first-round victor over Frenchwoman Sandrine Testud on Wednesday night, remains bitter at her treatment by the German courts and the WTA.

She said: "What people seem to be forgetting is that this man stabbed me intentionally and he did not serve any sort of punishment for it.

"That has been very difficult for me to deal with. If something like that had happened to, say, Michael Jordan, the NBA would have stood right behind him, but I was not given any help.

"I do not agree with the decision to move the tournament to Munich. Sometimes you can make a decision motivated by money, but you have also got to see the bigger picture.

"One of my best friends is German and he keeps telling me how I should go back, because I have a lot of fans over there.

Monica Seles
Monica Seles unhappy with the WTA

"But I would not feel comfortable going back. I don't foresee that happening. I don't have anything against the cities involved, but the justice system, in my case, really messed up."

Seles was a member of the WTA players' council when the decision to move to Munich was made - and announced - at this year's US Open.

"I thought being on the council would entitle me to some discussion and consulation," she said.

"But I read about it in USA Today, and that was a bit of a surprise.

"I am not on the council anymore. I decided not to run again, because if I give up some time at tournaments every week to do those duties, and the WTA cannot even do me the courtesy of calling me with their news, what's the point?"

The decision to accept the $3m prize money on offer in Munich has been widely criticised throughout the game, with many believing that Seles, a nine-time Grand Slam winner and three-time Chase Championship winner, deserves to be afforded greater respect.

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See also:

16 Nov 00 |  Tennis
Davenport falls to Russian
28 Oct 00 |  Tennis
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