Wimbledon organizers on Monday regretted the withdrawal of Spanish pair Alex Corretja and Albert Costa, who pulled out of the men's singles late Sunday after they were not named as seeds.
Corretja and Costa had earlier called a press conference with ATP Tour Chief Executive Officer Mark Miles and Chairman of the All England Club Tim Phillips where they said they were likely to pull out and later carried out that threat.
Another Spaniard, French Open semifinalist Juan Carlos Ferrero, withdrew from the tournament Saturday after citing a back injury. He had, however, already threatened to withdraw over the seeding row.
The Spanish trio wrote to the ATP Tour complaining at not being seeded, despite all being ranked in the world's top 16.
The All England club, however, defended the only seedings system that does not follow the ATP Entry System, insisting players' grass tournament records should be taken into consideration.
Corretja argued that if the rankings are not taken into consideration a top player on surfaces other than grass could find himself drawn in the early rounds against the top players whom they would only meet in the later stages of the tournament if seeded according to their ranking.
"I am not against Wimbledon, but we believe it's not fair to play tournaments where they don't respect the ranking," Corretja argued.
"My opinion is I don't feel like playing this year. I feel really sad. The criteria are difficult to understand. I respect the situation, but I don't agree with it," he added.
"From the point of view of tennis fans and the Championships we are naturally disappointed that, despite the joint endeavors of ourselves and the ATP Tour, Alex Corretja and Albert Costa have chosen not to play in this year's event," said Tim Phillips, chairman of the All England Club.
Both players receive zero points for not playing the event, one of 13 compulsory events on the Tour. However, they were not fined.
Their places in the draw are taken by lucky losers Werner Eschauer of Austria, who replaces Costa, and Germany's Michael Kohlmann, who comes in for Costa.
Corretja is like Costa, currently ranked in the top 16 players of the world. He spoke Sunday of his sadness at the controversy but stated: "We believe if the ATP is forcing us to play those tournaments they should respect the rankings" - (AFP)
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