Seles Joins Williamses, Kournikova on Sidelines

ZURICH (Reuters) – Monica Seles has withdrawn from next week’s Swisscom Challenge in Zurich due to a right foot injury, the WTA said on Tuesday.
Sixth-ranked Seles, winner of nine grand slam tournaments, joins world Nos. 1 and 2 Serena and Venus Williams in missing the $1.2 million tournament.

Anna Kournikova also will have to sit out of this year’s tournament. Additional tests have confirmed the diagnosis that she sprained her left ankle and tore a ligament in Moscow last week.

The Schluefweg Arena event still boasts a powerful field, however, with Jennifer Capriati, Amelie Mauresmo, Justine Henin, Lindsay Davenport, Jelena Dokic, Kim Clijsters and Martina Hingis all signed up to play.

Former world No. 1 Hingis is one of a record four Swiss women in the main draw.

Tenth-ranked Hingis is joined by world No. 17 Patty Schnyder as an automatic qualifier while Marie-Gaiane Mikaelian and Myriam Casanova were handed wildcards.

“They are both young, they both play attractive, powerful tennis, and they both won their first WTA tournaments this year and have gained a lot of ground in the rankings — that’s why we gave them wildcards,” tournament director Beat Ritschard said.

While 17-year-old Casanova is making her debut in the Schluefweg Stadium this year, Mikaelian, who is a year older, amazed everyone at the 2001 event when she stormed through qualification to reach the quarter-finals, where she lost to the then top-ranked Capriati.