Friday, August 13, 2004
2000 Wimbledon semifinalist steps in
ATHENS, Greece -- Irakli Labadze of Georgia withdrew from
the Olympic tennis tournament Friday with a right wrist injury and
will be replaced in the singles draw by 2000 Wimbledon semifinalist
Vladimir Voltchkov of Belarus.
Labadze is left-handed, but he uses a two-fisted backhand. He's
been a semifinalist at two tournaments this year, though he has a
four-match losing streak.
Labadze, who's ranked 46th, was to face No. 14-seeded Nicolas
Kiefer of Germany in the first round of the Olympic tournament,
which begins Sunday.
At Wimbledon four years ago, Voltchkov became the first
qualifier to reach the semifinals since John McEnroe in 1977. In
April 2001, reached a career-high ranking of 25th. He's currently
Voltchkov has played mostly in minor league tournaments and
qualifying events this season. His best showing came in May, when
he qualified for the French Open, then lost in the second round.