LTA in wild-card overhaul
By Jonathan Overend
BBC Sport tennis commentator
Tough new restrictions on Wimbledon wild-cards have been announced by the Lawn Tennis Association.
Any British man who has received three in his career will not get another unless he hauls his ranking inside the world's top 150.
That affects players such as Arvind Parmar and Jamie Delgado, who will be forced to climb the rankings or win a play-off competition if they are to play on the famous grass courts again.
The wild-card system has been criticised in the past for gifting players big prizes, even if they lose.
Those defeated in the first round of the men's singles last summer received the best part of £7,000.
"We're raising the bar once more," says Lawn Tennis Association performance director David Felgate.
"I do think, at that time of year, players have sat back and thought of their Wimbledon wild-card. They won't be able to do that anymore."
Automatic wild-cards will still go to British players but only if their ranking is inside the top 300 for men or 250 for women.
Special allowance will be made for players just out of the junior ranks.
If you don't get inside that ranking you don't get nominated
LTA performance director
The only other way into the All England championships will be through a play-off system which will double as pre-qualifying.
The play-offs, in hindsight introduced too swiftly last year, will be significantly altered for 2004.
The winner will be guaranteed a place in the Wimbledon main draw, there will be nominal prize money and, importantly, umpires and linesman will officiate.
After a sometimes chaotic and often confusing process six months ago, Felgate has made the new system clear in a letter, seen by the BBC, sent to every player's home.
"The players know where they stand today," he says.
"They've had the letter and it's crystal clear. If you don't get inside that ranking you don't get nominated. If you're outside of it, go and play the play-offs."
if it affects the women too, no wonder Julie, Lucie retired.
anyone counted back how many WC's the current players have received in past ??