Hewitt predicts ATP player boycott

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The Independent Online

Lleyton Hewitt said he expected many of the world's top players to miss ATP events because of security fears after last month's attacks in America.

After his comfortable 6-1, 6-1 third-round win over America's Michael Russell yesterday in the Japan Open in Tokyo, the Australian said: "I think it's definitely gone through everyone's mind who has to hop on a plane nowadays," he said. "If more stuff had started to happen I really wouldn't like flying at all. I'd like to be back home in Australia a long way from it all.

"As a professional athlete, and especially as a professional tennis player, you have to travel. It's part of the job. I'm sure some of the guys may not come to all the tournaments because of it, especially the American players, but I felt pretty comfortable coming here."

Despite the uncertain situation the WTA Tour expects top American players to show up for the season-ending Tour Championship in Munich later this month, and has reinstated a policy to fine absent players. Jennifer Capriati and Lindsay Davenport have entered in next week's tournament but Venus Williams pulled out yesterday, citing "family reasons".

Monica Seles has already said she will not play in Germany. She has refused to play there since she was stabbed by a fan in Hamburg in 1993.

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