Tennis: Seles says she will play on

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MONICA SELES was talking tennis again yesterday. The world No 1 laughed when asked if the knife attack on a court in Hamburg last Friday might cause her to consider retiring from the sport, but said she did not know when she would resume playing or how much the ordeal would affect her psychologically when she does.

'I love this game too much,' Seles, 19, said during a press conference in Vail, Colorado, where she is receiving treatment at the Steadman Sports Medicine Foundation. 'I'm a strong person, mentally and on the court, too. I just want to get back, hit the ball, have fun and go forward with my life. Physically and mentally, it will take a while. I'll do the best I can, as I have done up until now.'

Asked if she would be be able to put the attack behind her, she said: 'A long time will pass before I do that. I'm going day by day, not too much forward. I'm not going to say how well I'll do - nobody can do that.'

Seles is unlikely to be able to defend her title at the French Open in 18 days' time, and it is doubtful that she will be fit to make a challenge at Wimbledon, which starts on 21 June.

Dr Richard Steadman said: 'There is no way to define what the recovery time will be. Currently our plan is to protect the soft-tissue injury. It was deep enough to affect the muscles that rotate the scapula (shoulder blade), the backbone and shoulder. Because of that we are being cautious in resuming that range of motion. From an objective standpoint, the area of injury didn't involve the nerve or the arteries. It just affected the muscles, and so she should heal. My expectation is that she will get back to the same level she was before, but I can't give a guarantee.'

Seles said: 'I just want to get back my arm. That is my main concern. Everything else is pretty secondary. I haven't put a timetable on anything.'

She expressed the hope that the attack on her would lead to greater vigilance. 'They shouldn't get paranoid, but they need to improve security,' she said. 'I don't think we need this to happen again.'