Player power forces new US Open draw

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Protests by leading players, including Thomas Muster, the world No 2, have forced the US Tennis Association to restage the men's draw for next week's US Open in New York.

Muster had strongly objected to the process in which the men's seedings were announced after the draw for the rest of the field had already taken place.

This, according to one USTA official, speaking on condition of anonymity, would be a rule violation. Seedings and the draw can have a tremendous effect on a player's success, determining who the player meets in early rounds, and how difficult his path through the tournament will be.

"After talking to players, agents and a variety of interested and informed people, we have decided to redo the draw, but not change any of the seedings," Les Snyder, the USTA president, said.

Muster had accused US Open officials of manipulating the draw and seedings for the Grand Slam event which starts on Monday.

"You can put the seeds in and then make the draw, but you can't make the draw and then put the seeds in then. It's like cheating. In my opinion they should re-do the draw," he said after his second-round defeat yesterday at the Canadian Open.

Muster and the French Open champion, Yevgeny Kafelnikov, were seeded below their rankings, while several players, including Americans, Andre Agassi and Michael Chang, were bumped up, and one top-16 player was left out of the seeds.

"It seems to be that the ITF doesn't respect the ATP Tour rankings, that's one thing, and it's seems like they can do whatever they want anyway," said Muster, who was originally seeded third for the year's final Grand Slam tournament.

"I'm getting pretty used to it," complained the Austrian clay-court specialist who, before pulling out with injury, was seeded seventh at Wimbledon despite his No 2 ranking.