Tennis: Graf must rest foot injury

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STEFFI GRAF, the Wimbledon champion, faces a three-week break from the game because of a foot injury which has affected her since the French Open, her doctor said in Bonn yesterday.

Dr Hartmut Krahl said he would ask the world No 1 to take a long rest and 'let her legs dangle'. He said they would work out a recovery plan after an examination next week for inflammation of a ligament and a membrane around a bone in her foot.

'She has no problems in normal movement, but when she puts strain on the foot the pain comes back,' Krahl said. In his opinion, Graf should have had at least three weeks off after winning in Paris, where she had pain-killing injections, instead of the two-week break between the two Grand Slam events.

'The break before Wimbledon was too short for her to recover. If it hadn't been Wimbledon, I'd have urged her not to take part,' Krahl said. 'But Wimbledon is the most important tournament for a professional tennis player.'

Graf's father, Peter, said she had insisted on playing despite his advice not to do so, and that she had taken pain-killing tablets before winning her fifth Wimbledon final, against Jana Novotna.

'That shows how much Wimbledon means to her. If it had been any other tournament she wouldn't have played,' Peter Graf said.

A German newspaper, Bild am Sonntag, claimed Graf flew secretly to Germany twice during Wimbledon for treatment. She also wore a custom-made shoe to ease the pain of the injury throughout the tournament.

The injury is likely to prevent Graf from leading Germany's defence of the Federation Cup from 19 to 25 July in Frankfurt.