Tennis: Scrutiny for Martinez

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The Independent Online
The controversy concerning Conchita Martinez's dismal performance at Brighton last Thursday will be raised in New York next month when the world's leading players gather for the women's tour finale, the Virginia Slims Championships.

Peachy Kellmeyer, the WTA Tour's director of international operations, said yesterday that she would seek a meeting with the Wimbledon champion. 'We have meetings planned with all of our top players, to review this year and to talk about next year's schedule,' she said. 'I'm going to talk to Conchita about a number of things.'

Martinez, who accepted a wild card to replace the injured Steffi Graf, lost to the unseeded Larisa Neiland, of Latvia, 6-1, 6-3, in 51 minutes after her quarter-final match had been scheduled a day early so she could attend the wedding of her coach, Eric van Harpen, in Switzerland on Friday.

Kellmeyer did not see the performance but read the reviews. 'I understand her performance was not up to par,' she said.

'I've seen Conchita go out and play matches like some players do sometimes, like they used to say about Evonne Goolagong, take a walkabout, where they just seem like they're spaced out.

'But I think what made this worse was the perception, where she was entered at the last minute, was paid to play with incentive money out of her Virginia Slims bonus pool. So it was a bad perception.

'Conchita sometimes has a lackadaisical appearance on the court, and you can't change that in a player, I don't think. A lot of players have been like that. Some are just much more intense than others.

'I am certain that Conchita went to Brighton with the best intentions. It was not a decision that she made quickly. It took two or three days of discussions.

'She felt very much committed to go to Eric's wedding. I respect that. It's just unfortunate. You have to just weigh everything here and see where you come out.'

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