Two players don't meet German qualifying standards

Updated: August 4, 2004, 4:00 PM ET
Reuters

TORONTO -- WTA Tour players could boycott the Olympics if Germany's Anca Barna and Marlene Weingaertner are not cleared by the German Olympic Committee to compete in Athens.

According to a report in Wednesday's Globe and Mail, players at this week's WTA stop in Montreal met on Monday, angry that Germany's top two players are being prevented from participating in Athens despite having met the International Tennis Federation's (ITF) qualifying standards.

"We discussed the matter at a players' meeting on Monday and I think there is a real chance of a boycott," Nathalie Dechy of France told the Globe and Mail.

According to the newspaper, Larry Scott, the chief executive of the WTA Tour, was to arrive in Montreal on Wednesday in an attempt to avert a boycott.

"We've been doing everything possible [to solve the problem]," Scott told the Globe and Mail. "We're working with the ITF and with the IOC [International Olympic Committee] and [IOC president] Jacques Rogge has been involved.

"But the final veto is with the German Olympic Committee because they name the players and they are not willing to budge.

"There is a real chance we won't be able to resolve the matter before the [entry] deadline at the end of the week.

"This is an injustice to our players, so we're lobbying the IOC and the German Olympic Committee to reverse their decision in the interest of our sport."

With the top 56 ranked players earning automatic entry into the Olympics, Barna and Weingaertner, ranked 46th and 52nd respectively, qualify for Athens based on the ITF's criteria.

The German Olympic Committee, however, had its own criteria -- players must reach a semifinal of a Grand Slam or the final of a tier-one event, which neither player has met.

The situation is further complicated by the fact the WTA and ATP will award Tour ranking points based on the Olympic results.

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