Tennis star to sue for her prize money

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ALEXANDRA Stevenson, the 18-year-old American who has reached the fourth round at her first Wimbledon, threatened last night to take the Women's Tennis Association to court over its decision to deny her any prize money from the tournament, writes Steve Tongue.

The association insists that she did not notify it about changing her status from amateur to professional before play began on Monday and so is entitled only to expenses. But her mother, Samantha, who is accompanying her, said that they had done everything by the book - in this case, the Wimbledon competitors' guide.

"The guide says you only have to notify the prize money office if you wish to protect your amateur status," she said. "I have witnesses [to say] that we went in and said we didn't want to do that. They said if you want to be a professional, you just play on, so we played on.

"Now we'll just have to get an attorney. There's going to be a dog-fight. The WTA can be very dictatorial, but we're right and they're wrong."

Having beaten Julie Halard-Decugis, the 11th seed, yesterday, Stevenson believes she is already entitled to pounds 26,280. If she wins her next match, against Lisa Raymond, that would rise to pounds 50,280.