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Team WTAworld, Senior Member
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MADRID, Spain (AP) -- Belgium's Fed Cup captain accused the United States on Wednesday of using the terrorist attacks as an excuse to skip this week's tournament because it was being played on clay courts.

Ivo Van Aken spoke after Belgium swept its first series against Germany. Without the two-time defending champion Americans, Belgium, France, Spain and Russia are the favorites to win the top team event in women's tennis.

``It's obvious that they (Americans) didn't want to play on clay after the Masters and to come here just for one competition,'' Van Aken said. ``That's why they're not here. The events of Sept. 11 gave them an excuse.''

The Americans pulled out last month citing security concerns.

The U.S. Tennis Association, which fields the Fed Cup team, declined to comment on Van Aken's charge.

U.S. teams have won the Fed Cup 17 times and would have been the favorites again with a team that could have included Jennifer Capriati, Lindsay Davenport, Venus Williams, Monica Seles and Serena Williams.

The Fed Cup championship match is Sunday.

French captain Guy Forget but slightly more sympathetic than Van Aken but still questioned the American's absence, especially since most of the team candidates had been playing tournaments around Europe as recently as last week.

``I regret and I can half understand the withdrawal. Very serious things are happening in the world,'' Forget said. ``But I think that the world continues to turn, people continue to work.

``What's the difference between the Masters in Munich and the Fed Cup in Madrid?''

Spanish player Conchita Martinez, who was in the United States on Sept. 11 and lives much of the year there, said she understood the American's hesitance to travel.

``If the FBI says don't come, that there's a risk -- I'd stay at home, too,'' she said. ``It's disappointing for the organizers, but I understand.''

it seems pretty interesting, but I personally think he has a fair point, I mean it is quite conincidental as before they pull out, we know Jennifer, Venus, Serena and Lindsay probably will not play even before they pull out. And it is more dissappointing as it again give a blow to women tennis again this year after all the fiasco in Munich.

However, US also has a point of staying away.

What do you think?
 

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Adrenaline junkie
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I think he just repeated what we were saying on some certain thread here... Nothing new. And nothing to argue.
 

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I think Van Aken should have kept his mouth, but I guess he is saying what most of the tennisfans think. If Monica can go play in Asia, if Serena plays in Munchen (Lindsay too, but she's injured now) then you can't say it's too dangerous to travel.
 

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<img src="rolleyes.gif" border="0">

It's different playing individually than playing as a team representing a country. There is a whole bunch of theories going around about why the US withdrew. Anyway, I don't see why this Ivo dude is complaining. Had the Americans showed up his team would have been packing to go home right now. <img src="smile.gif" border="0">

GO USA!
 

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As disappointed as I am that the U.S. has chosen not to compete in Madrid, I really don't care what their reasons were.

But Ivo Van Aken shouldn't have said anything. Sure, many people have been thinking it (Heck, Lindsay Davenport said her reason for turning down Fed Cup was that it was on clay!), but it's not the "correct" thing to say. It just makes the Belgian team look stupid. (At least we know Kim and Justine would never say something like that.)

Is this the first "unkind" thing said by a Belgian tennis personality this year?

Anyway, there is a difference between competing as an individual and wearing a flag and representing your country. I'm with Conchita Martinez on this one. If indeed the FBI said there were concerns, well, I'd pull out too.

[ November 07, 2001: Message edited by: cynicole ]</p>
 

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I think the guy should have thought before he spoke: No US team in any sport has been represented since September 11th overseas. Why would the US team not want to play? They were 2 time defending champions, in their team they would have had one of the greatest clay-courters the game has ever seen in Monica Seles and one of the others in the team would have won another singles match. The US team was not mabye gonna be the "Dream Team" this year but then they would have still had a better shot at the title than other nations. I respect the desicion not to play even though i was desperate to see them win as this is the first time i have had a chance to see Fed Cup on TV but as i understand the Government & BJK talked for a while before deciding so i feel they did what they thought was right, why should they be critisized or punished for that?
 

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GoMonica, you're are absolutely correct. <img src="smile.gif" border="0">
 

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first of all Fed Cup should have been in the States since we won it last year. Second so we have to wait a year to kick some Belgium ass in Fed Cup and it'll feel even better next year when we do.
 

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i dont think they arent playing cos it is on clay!<br />i think they arent playing cos their best players dont want to play.if Lindsay,Jenn,and the Williamses were avaible,they didnt withdraw.
 

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<img src="mad.gif" border="0"> Whether or not this theory is true, it is still insensitive and should not have come out of his mouth, period. Why would the US be afraid to play on clay? A nation that was just attacked should not have to recieve these kinds of words. Many people are still in fear and mourning. The US as a team is a prime target and everyone knows that. Anything can happen. No one knows where Al-Queda is hiding and where they will strike next. We have to be careful. I think the Belgian Captain would speak a little differently if the attacks were in his country.
 
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