The decision of over half the members of the 100-member Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) to boycott the Wimbledon Championships which start on Monday (25 June), may mean that the tournament will be dominated by East European players.
WIMBLEDON NO. I COURT IN RAIN: REPORTER TALKING TO REAY: HOTEL IN LONDON WHERE PLAYERS ARE SIGNING PETITION: REPORTER TALKING TO DRAYSDALE.
The text of the interviews follows:
REPORTER: "Mr. Reay, the players have finally decided they will not play at Wimbledon, now what is your reaction this morning?"
MR. REAY: "Well I've just spent two days in a court of law. We discussed the whole matter. The judge has given a ruling. It was a High Court Judge. I really do think it's time we got out of law courts and onto tennis courts. That's all I've got to say."
REPORTER: "Thank your Mr. Reay, just one thing though, Wimbledon will go ahead. Do you not feel that the women this year, particularly with Margaret Court returning, are just as big an attraction as the men?"
MR. REAY: "Women are part of the attraction. Wimbledon is going ahead as Mr. Herman David (chairman of the All English Tennis Club which organises Wimbledon) has just told us."
REPORTER: "Can you tell me what the situation is as far as the group of professionals is concerned now?"
MR. DRYSDALE: "Well at the moment the position is that we've agreed -- the members of our association have agreed -- to withdraw from any tournament that does not accept the entry of Nikki Pilic. At the moment his entry has been withdrawn form the All-England Championships at Wimbledon and as for as we know they do not intend to put it back so...."
REPORTER: "Where is Nikki Pilic now?"
MR. DRYSDALE: "He is on his way back to Yugoslavia. He told me this morning on the 'phone that he'd be prepared to come back at the shortest notice in case the situation changes. But I don't think he expects a change in the situation and he's in Yugoslavia."
REPORTER: "What is your feeling about Mike Gibson's (Wimbledon's Chief Referee) statement this morning that Wimbledon will go ahead and that they had sufficient players?"
MR. DRYSDALE: "I'm absolutely sure he does have sufficient players. It's not our intention to ruin the championships, it's simply going along with the decision we made that we could not play in any tournament in which Nikki Pilic could not play, because he had been, we felt, unfairly suspended. We're hoping it is a success. We're not trying to make Wimbledon championships a failure by pulling out of it. The fact is that (INDISTINCT) of all the tournaments in the world this is the last one that they want to pull out of, whereas we want to see Wimbledon succeed and survive and continue to be the great championship that it is."
The following people are in this film: Mr. Basil Reay -- Secretary of the International Lawn Tennis federation and Mr. Cliff Drysdale -- president of the ATP.
EDITORS: WE ALSO DRAW YOUR ATTENTION TO OUR PRODUCTION NUMBER 5915: U.K.: TENNIS STAR PILIC DEPARTS AND SMITH, ASHE AND NASTASE SPEAK ABOUT WIMBLEDON, ALSO SERVICED TODAY.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The decision of over half the members of the 100-member Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) to boycott the Wimbledon Championships which start on Monday (25 June), may mean that the tournament will be dominated by East European players. The association represents the world's top male players, including almost all the 16 seeds, and decided on the boycott in support of the Yugoslav player Nikki Pilic who has bene banned form Wimbledon.
Philic was suspended until June 30th by the International Lawn Tennis Federation for failing to play for his country in a Davis Cup match.
The players consider the suspension is unfair. A court injunction was sought to allow Pilic to play but the attempt failed.
If the boycott goes ahead, stars like defending champions Stan Smith, Ken Rosewall, John Newcombe and Arthur Ashe will be mission. The Rumanian, Ilie Nastase is the one top seed likely to play. He's been told to play by his home federation and is now the favourite for the men's singles title. Two other East Europeans. Jan Kodes of Czechoslovakia and Alex Metreveli of the Soviet Union will also be prominent if the boycott goes ahead.
The top women players, including Margaret Court, are also considering a boycott in support of Pilic.