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Kremlin Cup Director Criticizes Venus, Lindsay

532 Views 22 Replies 16 Participants Last post by  TheBoiledEgg

By Richard Pagliaro - Shaken by the terrorist attacks on America and citing safety concerns over air travel, U.S. Open champion Venus Williams and third-ranked Lindsay Davenport both withdrew from next week's Kremlin Cup in Moscow. Tournament director Alexei Selivanenko, who was initially supportive of the players' decision, today criticized their concerns as "absurd."

"Moscow is the safest place in the world and any reference to a security reason not to play is absurd," Selivanenko said in an interview with Reuters. "Of course, we are all troubled by the events, but it is not our fault."

The tournament director was more sympathetic yesterday, saying: "We fully respect their concerns about traveling." But Selivanenko slammed both players for pulling out today.

Twelve of the top 20 women in the world are expected to play including top-ranked Martina Hingis, French Open finalist Kim Clijsters, Amelie Mauresmo, Nathalie Tauziat and Wimbledon runner-up Justine Henin, who has accepted a wild card into the main draw. Russian Internet icon Anna Kournikova, who has been sidelined for most of the year after sustaining a stress fracture in her left foot, is also expected to join the field. Kournikova, whose last match came at the Acura Classic in the summer, is scheduled to return to tournament tennis tomorrow in Leipzig, Germany.

For the second straight year, the men's and women's tournaments will be played simultaneously at the Kremlin Cup. In the past, the events were held two weeks apart.
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The withdrawals are understandable, but those of you calling the tournament director a "jerk" just don't get it. Watching the semis on TV, all I saw were lots of empty stands. It's rare for a director to come right out and criticize stars, because as Brian says, they might not play next year. The thing is though, this event is so shaky there might not be a next year. Rumors have been flying around that the Russians are going to "loan" the event China.
Well ys, I may be wrong about the number of people that were in the stands(I only had the TV to judge by), but it's obvious from the press that this is a struggling event financially if there is all this talk of moving it to China.
Luckily for the event Russians did well in both events, but it might not be enough to save it.
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