Top seeds pull out of Paris Masters

2nd November 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Nov 1 (AFP) - Andre Agassi's last minute decision to pull out of the EUR 2.45 million Paris Masters provoked a furious reaction from organisers on Monday who claimed the ATP tour was becoming discredited.

PARIS, Nov 1 (AFP) - Andre Agassi's last minute decision to pull out of the EUR 2.45 million Paris Masters provoked a furious reaction from organisers on Monday who claimed the ATP tour was becoming discredited.

The American veteran, twice a champion here and seeded five, told organisers that he had injured his right hip and could not play while Argentina's David Nalbandian, the eighth seed, also said injury had caused his withdrawal.

World number one Roger Federer, former French Open champions Carlos Moya and Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain and world number five Guillermo Coria of Argentina all pulled out last week.

"The organisers of the Paris Masters deplore these withdrawals which have added to the long list of players absent both from Paris and the Madrid Masters two weeks ago," said a tournament spokesman.

"Whatever the reasons, these withdrawals from the elite ATP tournaments bring discredit to the circuit.

"Mark Miles, the chief executive of the ATP, indicated to the directors of the Masters Series tournaments who met in Madrid two weeks ago that he was aware of the seriousness of the problems which have affected the professional circuit and of the necessity to find quick solutions."

Such is the concern at the problem that the directors of the five European Masters tournaments will meet here on Tuesday to discuss the problem.

Agassi was a runner-up in Stockholm on Sunday losing to Thomas Johansson while Nalbandian was a losing finalist to Jiri Novak in Basel.

The withdrawal of the two players is a boost for defending Paris champion Tim Henman and Russia's Marat Safin, who have now now secured two of the three remaining places at the season-ending Masters Cup in Houston, regardless of their performance in Paris this week.

Federer, Andy Roddick, Lleyton Hewitt, Moya and French Open winner Gaston Gaudio have already made sure of their places in the eight-man line-up in Texas.

Nalbandian's withdrawal now rules him out of contention.

Federer withdrew from Paris last week with a thigh injury while Moya has failed to recover from a right shoulder injury.

October's Madrid Masters was also hit by high-profile absentees.

Federer, Roddick, Coria and Hewitt all failed to play although Agassi did appear.

Tournament director Ion Tiriac said financial penalties should be introduced.

"I think a tennis player who makes five, six, seven, eight, ten million dollars a year, he should have the decency to make his programme and give back to the game something."

The problem of missing players also surfaced at the Monte Carlo Masters in April where Federer, Roddick and Agassi were amongst the absentees.

"How many players should play the Masters Series? Eight? Nine? Ten out of ten is difficult. You can have a real injury, I respect that," said Patrice Dominguez, the deputy director of the Monaco event.

"But let's say seven. If the agreement was eight or nine, then we pay 100,000 dollars less.

"We always commit ourselves to put the prize money on the table; the players don't commit themselves."

© AFP

Subject: French News

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