The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Boycott would lead to disaster: Kuerten

London: Three-time French Open champion Gustavo Kuerten says a boycott of Grand Slams would be catastrophic for tennis. Around half of the world’s top 100 players are believed to support in principle the idea of a boycott of top events such as Wimbledon unless their claim for a higher percentage of receipts is forthcoming in prize money.

Later, Andre Agassi refused to be drawn into the debate, saying he had too much respect for the grasscourt Slam.

Brazil’s Kuerten thinks if the threat became reality it would potentially ruin the game. “A boycott would be a catastrophe for the game, possibly the worst thing you can imagine. It would have to be something really important for us to decide not to play — but we are not satisfied with the way things are at the moment,” admitted the 26-year-old, who is back at Wimbledon this year after three years away owing to his own dislike of grass.

“There needs to be more talks with the organisers, and may be not through the ATP, to see exactly what is going on but we all need to try and take the game forward,” added the Samba star.

All-England Club chairman Tim Phillips said: “The four Grand Slams are not-for-profit organisations which already invest their profits back into the grass roots of the game, both domestically and internationally. By this means, the four Grand Slams have so far invested £15 million into the grassroots in the developing world, including other international professional tennis events. But ATP chief executive Mike Miles said his organisation was keen to change the current cash distribution system.

Agassi said: “There’s no question that discussions are going on. (But) the specifics of it, to be quite honest for me, aren’t something that I would prefer to talk about in Wimbledon’s back yard. I mean, I have too much respect for these championships.

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