Mental scars will keep Monica Seles off court

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

THE psychological wounds Monica Seles suffered after she was stabbed in the back during the Hamburg Open last year have yet to heal and she is unlikely to return to the professional tennis circuit this year.

The International Management Group, which represents Seles, said yesterday that she had concentrated on physical rehabilitation but 'there are still emotional issues resulting from the stabbing attack'.

Seles is not entered in any tournaments this year and does not know when she will return, according to IMG, which said she 'will not be ready to play tennis again in the near future'.

The Yugoslav-born player has not played competitive tennis since being knifed by a a supporter of her great rival, Steffi Graf, last April. She was then world No 1, but last week was dropped from the world rankings after failing to compete in tournaments.

Yesterday's IMG statement, issued in Paris, left many in the tennis world convinced that Seles will not return this season.

Seles, 20, first made her mark on the circuit by reaching the semi-finals of the French Open in 1989 as a 15-year-old.

The following year she won the first of three consecutive French Opens, becoming the world No 1 in March 1991. She held that spot until last June with only a brief interruption to her reign in August 1991.

Seles has taken five other Grand Slam crowns, winning the Australian Open three times (1991, 1992 and 1993) and the United States Open twice (1991 and 1992).

The only major title missing from her collection is Wimbledon, where she was a finalist two years ago. Graf has won the last four Grand Slam tournaments.

Sport, pages 41-44