Seles could be fined for withdrawal Top-ranked female also may miss Open

June 24, 1991|By Robin Finn | Robin Finn,New York Times News Service

WIMBLEDON, England -- The Monica Seles melodrama has simmered down here on the eve of the premier grass-court tennis tournament.

But if Seles, the former top-seeded woman, fails to produce a clearer excuse for her late withdrawal Friday, she could be fined up to 3,800 pounds, or about $6,200, tournament officials said.

Yesterday, a daily newspaper in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, reported that Seles' injuries also include damage to an arm and may be more serious than originally believed and could force the world's top-ranked female player, a Yugoslav who lives in Florida, out of the last Grand Slam event of the season, the U.S. Open in September.

Conflicting reports on Seles' whereabouts and physical condition were circulating, but last week, the player apparently visited the Vail, Colo., sports-medicine clinic of Dr. Richard Steadman, the orthopedist who performed Martina Navratilova's knee surgery.

Seles learned that a case of shin splints that has hampered her all year had worsened to a stress fracture affecting one knee. There were no indications, however, that Seles' problem would be treated surgically at this time.

The usual method for healing shin splints is rest, and that presumably is why Seles, 17, the youngest top-seeded singles player in Wimbledon's history as well as its first top-seeded player to withdraw, is forgoing the chance to add to her two 1991 Grand Slam victories in Australia and France.

Seles' father, Karolji Seles, was quoted in Novosti as saying that his daughter was suffering "chronic inflammation of the muscles of both legs."

"When she gets up in the morning, she hardly manages to walk," he said. "It would be best for her to rest two to three months, not to pick up a racket at all.

"We'll find a doctor who will change her diet, because a lot depends on that. She has taken very few vitamins recently, and she will have to forget her favorite food, french fries with ketchup."

The Yugoslav newspaper also said that Seles was in New York City on Saturday, having her knees examined.

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