Seles: Players Still Vulnerable to Attack
Thu March 20, 2003 05:31 PM ET
By Richard Luscombe
MIAMI (Reuters) - Ten years after being stabbed by a deranged Steffi Graf fan in Hamburg, Monica Seles says she still feels not enough is being done to protect women players at tournaments.
"You're totally accessible. There's no other sport in which you're accessible as in tennis," the Yugoslav-born American said at the Nasdaq-100 Open on Thursday.
Playing against Bulgaria's Magdalena Maleeva in the quarter-finals in Hamburg in 1993, Seles was stabbed in the back during a changeover by Guenter Parche, who wanted to see Graf reclaim the top spot in the rankings.
Asked if she was satisfied with the security on and off the court since the incident, she said: "It's insufficient in a lot of ways, our accessibility to people to get us on site, in matches, after matches. It's not just me, it's any of the high-profile players."
Seles, who spent almost two years away from tennis to recover from the attack, also dropped further hints that she is beginning to think about retirement.
She will turn 30 in December and despite being one of the world's leading players -- she reached at least the quarter-finals of all four grand slams last year -- she admits that her fitness is not at its peak.
"My first expectation this week is just to be able play and be pain-free, because I've been struggling in the past two weeks with my foot," said Seles, who is in the same quarter of the draw as defending champion and top seed Serena Williams.
"I have a difficult draw so I really look forward to the first round, and just make sure I can stay healthy.
As for retirement, Seles said: "I might announce it, I might have a farewell tour and I might not. I really have no idea. I don't really dwell on the past.
"I wish I didn't get stabbed and I competed at the highest level for those few years, but besides that I was very happy.
"It's hard to say okay, this is the tournament you're going to end it on' because really, as an athlete, you never know.
"If I know that in six months I'm going to stop and I'm comfortable announcing that, then great.
"If I'm not sure, then why make a point of that and say, 'one more year, one more year'?"
Seles received a first-round bye here as 10th seed, and is scheduled to begin her campaign against French qualifier Marion Bartoli on Friday or Saturday.