Rosset may not defend title

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The Independent Online
Marc Rosset, discouraged after losing his first-round match to the German qualifier Oliver Gross in the Swiss Open in Gstaad yesterday, said he was thinking of not defending his Olympic gold medal in Atlanta.

Rosset, the third-seeded Swiss who lost 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, said: "It's a difficult choice. I announced a long time ago I'd go [to Atlanta], but as the weeks go by I've realised it's not a good thing for me. If it were up to me today I'd choose not to go to the Olympics.''

Leading 1-0 in the third set, the 26-year-old Rosset lost his momentum with a second rain delay. Gross, ranked 210 in the world, then broke Rosset to take the lead 2-1.

Rosset managed to break back and level at 2-2, but was unable to prevent the German from coming back to win the next four games.

Rosset said he had been losing sleep over trying to move up in world rankings. "I'm 16th in the world. My goal is top 10," he said. "I lost points at Wimbledon and here and I'll lose more by going to the Olympics. I'll lose four or five weeks of tournaments."

He said he wished he had won the French Open or Wimbledon so that he would not have considered missing the Olympics.

"For people the Olympics mean everything but not for me," Rosset said. "If I go down in my rankings next year, people will say bad things and if I don't go to Atlanta they'll do the same, so I'll be insulted no matter what I do."

In other first-round action, the holder and new French champion, Yevgeny Kafelnikov, had little trouble dispatching Spain's Roberto Carretero 7- 5, 6-1.

"It's good to be back on this surface, good to be back on track," Kafelnikov, who lost in the first round at Wimbledon, said. "I won here 12 months ago but this time I have a Grand Slam title in my pocket, which makes a difference.''

The Wimbledon runner-up, MaliVai Washington of the United States, was brought back to earth when he lost to Spain's Francisco Clavet 7-6, 6- 1.