Tennis / Wimbledon '93: Stich's rebuff for extremism

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MICHAEL STICH yesterday strongly denied suggestions that he has sympathy for the extreme right which might extend to the attacking of foreigners in his country.

The 1991 Wimbledon champion, speaking before the Solingen arson on 29 May in which five Turks died, had said in a Playboy article published recently in Germany that the extreme right was not fundamentally bad.

He added that right wing extremists could have had plausible reasons for their actions, which could be understood because of their situation.

But Stich denied any sympathy for the extreme right and claimed that his comments had been distorted in the interview. 'I have no sympathy at all with those people. I never have had and I'm never going to have. There were things written the wrong way that I never said. I didn't say any of those things in that way.'

Stich said he had considered legal action against the magazine but had decided not to act after legal advice. He is also reported to have said in the magazine that he wanted nothing to do with his country's Nazi past. 'I'm proud of being German, history is nothing to do with me.'

He also called for the German Army to become involved in the West's attempts to solve the civil war in former Yugoslavia. 'If we Germans don't get involved, then probably no-one else will. Should we be kept out of things because we had Adolf Hitler 50 years ago,?' he asked.

Playboy said that the day after the Solingen tragedy, Stich's entourage sought to retract his comments on the extreme right. The magazine refused.