Tennis: Seles sets up return

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MONICA SELES, the former world No 1, is expected to make her comeback in the Australian Open next January, Geoff Pollard, the Tennis Australia president, said yesterday in Melbourne.

'I spoke to her manager during the week who told me that Monica has her sights very definitely on a comeback in time for the Open,' he said.

'She has a lot of computer points at stake and doesn't want to miss another Grand Slam.'

Seles, who has won the last three Australian Opens, has not played in a Grand Slam event since being stabbed in the shoulder by an obsessed fan in Hamburg, Germany, in April.

There are plans for her to ease her way back by taking part in an exhibition event in Dublin in December.

Seles, who has lost her No 1 ranking to Steffi Graf, may also play in the New South Wales Open in Sydney from 10 to 16 January in the build-up to the Australian Open, which takes place from 17 to 30 January.

'If Monica comes down for the Australian Open next year, she will probably want to play in the New South Wales Open beforehand to get some match practice,' Seles's managers, the International Management Group, said yesterday.

Gunter Parche, the man accused of stabbing Monica Seles in April, will appear in court today in Hamburg. Parche, 39, is alleged to have claimed he carried out the on-court attack because he wanted to help Seles's rival, Steffi Graf, regain her world No 1 ranking. He faces charges of wounding.