ATP, WTA eye rankings points for Olympics
ATHENS, Greece -- Roger Federer of Switzerland and Justine Henin-Hardenne of Belgium were seeded No. 1 Wednesday for the Athens Olympics singles tennis tournaments.
Andy Roddick of the United States is No. 2 behind Federer, followed by Carlos Moya of Spain, Tim Henman of Britain and Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain.
In the women's field, Amelie Mauresmo of France is second, followed by French Open champion Anastasia Myskina, French Open runner-up Elena Dementieva, and Svetlana Kuznetsova, all Russians.
Venus Williams is seeded sixth. Two players who would have been ahead of her -- sister Serena and Jennifer Capriati -- pulled out of the Olympics, citing injuries.
In doubles, the top seedings went to American twins Bob and Mike Bryan, and to Kuznetsova and Elena Likhovtseva. Martina Navratilova, making her Olympic debut at age 47, and Lisa Raymond of the United States were seeded No. 3, after Conchita Martinez and Virginia Ruano Pascual of Spain.
The Athens tennis tournament is Aug. 15-22, and will be played on hard courts.
The ATP and WTA won't award rankings points for tennis competition at the 2008 Beijing Games unless they are assured that players who meet the tours' Olympic qualifying standards will be allowed to compete.
ATP chief executive Mark Miles sent a letter to International Tennis Federation president Francesco Ricci Bitti after Raemon Sluiter was kept out of the Athens Games by the Dutch national Olympic committee even though he qualified for the event.
Earlier, two German women -- Anca Barna and Marlene Weingartner -- were told by their national Olympic Committee they wouldn't go to Greece.
The ATP and WTA both considered withdrawing rankings points from the Athens Games to protest.
"It's obviously not acceptable," ATP spokesman David Higdon said Wednesday in a telephone interview from Florida. "For us to do any kind of agreement for 2008, there would have to be some significant guarantees that this won't happen again."
The Aug. 15-22 tennis tournament in Athens is the first time the WTA is giving rankings points at the Olympics, an incentive aimed at attracting top players. The ATP began doing so at the 2000 Games.
The two tours, the ITF and the International Olympic Committee agreed that players would qualify automatically for the Olympics if ranked high enough.
"The WTA Tour has decided not to renew our existing Olympic agreement with the ITF, and on a going-forward basis, the WTA Tour will only entertain a discussion regarding awarding of Olympic Tennis Event ranking points if there is a change in the policies and procedures of the IOC that provides a 100 percent guarantee that all eligible WTA Tour players based on ranking will be entered," WTA CEO Larry Scott said.
In his letter to Ricci Bitti and IOC president Jacques Rogge, Miles wrote: "The ATP will not consider awarding points to Olympic competition unless there is a change in the relevant written policies, rules and procedures. ... This change would need to provide an absolute guarantee that all eligible ATP players ... will be entered and allowed to compete."
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press