Wed, Sep 22, 2010 - Page 19 News List

Sanchez-Vicario, Martinez back Spanish Cup rebels

REUTERS , MADRID

Former Grand Slam champions Arantxa Sanchez Vicario and Conchita Martinez have thrown their support behind six Spanish players who have threatened to boycott next year’s Fed Cup, local media reported on Monday.

The top six-ranked Spaniards, including Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez (25) and Anabel Medina Garrigues (53), last week accused the national tennis federation (RFET) of failing to provide enough support for the women’s game.

The RFET refutes the accusations, saying that it was investing more in women’s tennis than ever and was open to dialogue with the players and suggestions for improvements.

Sanchez-Vicario, a four-times Grand Slam singles champion and former world No. 1, and 1994 Wimbledon champion Martinez ­issued a joint statement on Monday with 51 other current and former players backing the six, local media said.

The statement denounced “the general apathy shown by the federation toward women’s tennis in recent years.”

The Spanish women’s game lags behind the men’s and there are only four players in the WTA top 100 and none higher than 25.

Men’s world No. 1 Rafa Nadal is one of 13 Spaniards in the ATP top 100, with Fernando Verdasco the next highest at eight, David Ferrer at No. 11 and Nicolas Almagro 16th.

An RFET spokesman said the federation had not received any communication from Sanchez Vicario, Martinez and the other players and it was standing by the position it set out in a statement on its Web site last week.

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