Tennis: Graf confirms Brighton entry

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The Independent Online
Steffi Graf, the Wimbledon champion and joint world No 1 with Monica Seles, will play in the Brighton International tournament, which starts on Tuesday. The German, who has been suffering from chronic back trouble this year, has not played since winning the US Open early last month.

She has always admitted that, of all the tournaments on the international circuit, Brighton is her favourite because she is able to move around the town without attracting undue attention.

When she learned that this year would be the last time the Brighton event, lacking a sponsor, would be staged, the 26-year-old was determined to play.

Earlier this week there were serious doubts about her fitness and a report that she had withdrawn from the tournament. She is also under pressure from an investigation into alleged tax evasion.

George Hendon, the Brighton promoter, said that Graf would give herself a "rigorous work-out" at home in Germany before making a final decision.

Yesterday Graf told the Women's Tennis Association that she was "fit and well" and would be in the 28-strong field which will include Jana Novotna of the Czech Republic, Magdalena Maleeva of Bulgaria and the American Lindsay Davenport, all of whom are in the world's top 10. Clare Wood, the former British No 1, is expected to be given a wild card.