TORONTO -- WTA Tour players could boycott
the Olympics if Germany's Anca Barna and Marlene Weingaertner
are not cleared by the German Olympic Committee to compete in
According to a report in Wednesday's Globe and Mail, players
at this week's WTA stop in Montreal met on Monday, angry that
Germany's top two players are being prevented from participating
in Athens despite having met the International Tennis
Federation's (ITF) qualifying standards.
"We discussed the matter at a players' meeting on Monday and
I think there is a real chance of a boycott," Nathalie Dechy of
France told the Globe and Mail.
According to the newspaper, Larry Scott, the chief
executive of the WTA Tour, was to arrive in Montreal on Wednesday
in an attempt to avert a boycott.
"We've been doing everything possible [to solve the
problem]," Scott told the Globe and Mail. "We're working with
the ITF and with the IOC [International Olympic Committee] and
[IOC president] Jacques Rogge has been involved.
"But the final veto is with the German Olympic Committee
because they name the players and they are not willing to budge.
"There is a real chance we won't be able to resolve the
matter before the [entry] deadline at the end of the week.
"This is an injustice to our players, so we're lobbying the
IOC and the German Olympic Committee to reverse their decision
in the interest of our sport."
With the top 56 ranked players earning automatic entry into
the Olympics, Barna and Weingaertner, ranked 46th and 52nd
respectively, qualify for Athens based on the ITF's criteria.
The German Olympic Committee, however, had its own criteria
-- players must reach a semifinal of a Grand Slam or the final of a
tier-one event, which neither player has met.
The situation is further complicated by the fact the WTA and
ATP will award Tour ranking points based on the Olympic results.