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Russia will be able to take 6 players in the olympics
Countries can field up to six players in women's tennis event at Beijing Olympics
LONDON (AP) - Countries will be able to field six players in the women's tennis tournament at next year's Beijing Olympics, an increase of two from the 2004 Athens Games.
The International Tennis Federation and the WTA Tour announced the change Thursday after completing negotiations to again award ranking points for the competition.
The WTA rankings will be used to determine the top 56 direct acceptances in the 64-player singles draw for women. Nations can be eligible for up to four entries in singles.
They will now be able to nominate a separate doubles team if one of the pair is ranked in the top 10 in doubles rankings.
"This decision means that more of the top women players will be eligible to compete in Beijing and that is good news for everyone," ITF president Francesco Ricci Bitti said.
Six of the remaining eight singles places will be selected by the ITF's Olympic Committee, taking into consideration a player's singles computer ranking and a geographic distribution of nations entered.
The remaining two places will be chosen by a committee featuring representatives from the International Olympic Committee and the ITF.
"The agreement announced today is intended to ensure that all direct acceptance players are selected based on merit, which is a principle of the utmost importance and one that is consistent with the spirit of the Olympic Games," WTA Tour chief executive officer Larry Scott said.
The WTA first awarded ranking points for the Olympic tennis event in 2004.
Ricci Bitti said the ITF was still in negotiation with the men's tour. The ATP awarded ranking points for the 2000 and 2004 Olympic tennis events.
The Olympic tennis event will be played from Aug. 10-17 in 2008.