Originally created 05/25/04

Mauresmo doesn't like that Navratilova got wild card



PARIS -- Martina Navratilova's return to Grand Slam singles after a 10-year absence is generating plenty of talk - not all of it positive.

Amelie Mauresmo thinks a young French player should have received the wild card that organizers gave the 47-year-old Navratilova.

"We're lucky enough to have a Grand Slam in our country. Obviously, we want French players to get priority," the third-seeded Mauresmo said Monday after beating Ludmila Cervanova 6-3, 6-3.

"I think the tournament hoped Martina would create more of an event and would probably attract more people," said Mauresmo, France's top player. "It's obvious that this penalizes the young French players."

Still a top doubles player, Navratilova asked for a singles wild card at the French Open this year, which she has said will be her last on tour.

In her first singles match at a major since 1994, Navratilova faces Argentine teen Gisela Dulko on Tuesday. Navratilova won the French Open in 1982 and 1984, two of her 18 Grand Slam singles championships.

Mauresmo said she and Navratilova have talked tennis on several occasions but not much came of it.

"She has a very rigid way of looking at things. That didn't suit me very well," Mauresmo said.

FERRERO'S DECISION: After a practice session Monday, defending champion Juan Carlos Ferrero planned to play in the French Open despite a rib injury, Spanish tennis federation spokesman Pedro Hernandez said.

Ferrero, scheduled to play his first-round match Tuesday against Tommy Haas, said Sunday there was a 60 percent chance he would withdraw.

Tournament spokesman Christophe Proust said organizers hadn't heard from Ferrero on Monday, and they assumed he was waiting until Tuesday to make his final decision.

Ferrero bruised his right ribs in a fall May 8 while practicing in Spain.

WITHDRAWALS: No. 13-seeded Chanda Rubin of the United States, and No. 15 Sjeng Schalken of the Netherlands withdrew from the French Open on Monday.

Rubin has a recurring knee problem, while Schalken cited a viral infection.

Rubin injured her left knee at the Pan Pacific Open in February. Israel's Tzipora Obziler will take her place in the draw, while Hyung-taik Lee will replace Schalken.

GORAN'S GOODBYE: Goran Ivanisevic told a Croatian newspaper he plans to retire after playing one last time at Wimbledon, which he won in 2001.

"I've been thinking about it for the last two years," Ivanisevic said in an interview published Monday by Sportske Novosti. "It's not easy to admit, but time trickles by, and one day you have to draw the line and say, 'Enough."'

He hasn't played at the All England Club since winning his only Grand Slam title there as a wild-card entry when ranked 125th.

The 32-year-old Ivanisevic had left shoulder surgery soon after, and he's had other injury problems. He isn't playing at the French Open, which started Monday.

"Wimbledon is something else. Two worlds: Wimbledon and the rest," he told the newspaper. "It's the biggest for any player. There is no better way to bow out. Hopefully, I'll play on Centre Court and win a few rounds."

He said he considered returning to Wimbledon for just one serve, hoping it would be an ace - and then walking off into retirement.

"An ace. One more ace. The last one," he said. "But no. I couldn't do that, not to Wimbledon. It is too big a tournament, and I don't deserve to leave like that."