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Pressure's on committee after boycott threat

BERLIN -- Germany's tennis federation asked its national
Olympic committee to reverse its plan to bar the country's top two
female players from the Athens Games, a stance that drew a boycott
threat from some on the WTA Tour.

The German Olympic Committee set its own steep standards for
tennis players, leaving Anca Barna and Marlene Weingaertner off the
team even though they qualified automatically for Athens under an
agreement among the WTA, the International Tennis Federation and
the IOC.

But Germany officials do not appear ready to back down in the
dispute.

"We announced our squad of 453 sportsmen and women on July 21
and there won't be any additions," German Olympic committee
president Klaus Steinbach told the website www.sport.de. "We
expect the ITF and WTA to recognize this."

WTA chief executive Larry Scott is far from confident that the issue
will be resolved by the Olympic entry deadline, which is the end
of this week.

"We've been doing everything possible (to solve the problem),"
Scott said. "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."

Officials at the national Olympic committee refused to comment
Thursday.

Scott met with about 30 players
Wednesday at the Rogers Cup tournament in Montreal and told them a
boycott "is not in the interests of women's professional tennis"
-- a sentiment echoed by Weingaertner.

Scott said the WTA would
consider not awarding ranking points if a resolution isn't reached.

"The agreement between the WTA and the ITF allows the WTA to
withdraw ranking points if [the Germans] do not send these two
players," Scott said.

The top 56 players in the rankings in July were to be admitted
to the Olympics, with up to four per country, and Barna (46th) and
Weingaertner (52nd) met that standard. But Germany's own standards
included reaching the semifinals of a Grand Slam tournament or the
semifinals at a Tier 1 event -- something neither German woman has
done.

Scott pointed out that Germany made an exception for Florian
Mayer, who was ranked 53rd and reached the Wimbledon quarterfinals.
Germany's Olympic committee has said it made a "one-time
exception" for him.

Information from The Associated Press and SportsTicker was used in this report.