Tennis / Wimbledon '94: Austin forced to pull out

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The Independent Online
TRACY AUSTIN, the former world No 1, yesterday withdrew from Wimbledon with a shoulder injury. The 31-year-old American, who last played at Wimbledon when she reached the quarter-finals in 1982, was scheduled to play the world No. 17 Helena Sukova in a tough opening match.

Austin, who originally quit the women's Tour in 1984 after chronic neck and back problems, has been replaced in the draw by a lucky loser, Tessa Price, of South Africa.

Her first comeback in 1988 was aborted soon afterwards when she broke a leg in a car accident, but since her latest return to the circuit last year she has risen to 81 in the world. She twice reached the semi-finals at Wimbledon, in 1979 and 1980, and her two Grand Slam victories both came at the US Open, in 1979 and 1981.

Alan Mills, the Wimbledon referee, said: 'We were looking forward to seeing her again after so many years, so this news is very disappointing.'

The former world No. 1 Monica Seles may never play tennis again, according to the guru Nick Bollettieri. The American coach, who is at Wimbledon to back up the title campaigns of Boris Becker and Mary Pierce, has revealed that he recently received a letter from the Yugoslavia-born Seles, who is one of his former pupils.

Bollettieri, who led Andre Agassi to his 1992 Wimbledon title win, said: 'There was no mention of a return. And the longer she leaves it the more difficult it will become for her ever to come back. I don't know what is causing her to stay away - whether it is physical or psychological - but there is obviously some kind of blockage.'

Seles, 20 and winner of eight Grand Slam singles titles, has featured in several false alarms regarding possible returns. According to those closest to Seles, her prolonged absence is due more to the serious illness of her father Karolj than to the stabbing incident.

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