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Spanish women failing to benefit from Nadal’s success


By Alexandra Willis

17 September 2010


Rafael Nadal may be on his way to becoming the most marketable tennis player in the world, striking a chord for Spanish tennis by completing a career Grand Slam at the US Open in New York, but it appears that all is not rosy in the Spanish game. In a letter to the President of the Spanish Tennis Federation (RFET), Spain’s top female players have announced they will be boycotting the Federation Cup next year, in protest at the lack of development in the women’s game.


Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez (No.25 in the world), Anabel Medina Garrigues (No. 53), Arantxa Parra Santonja (No.58), Carla Suarez Navarro (No.63), Lourdes Dominguez Lino (No.108), and Nuria Llagostera Vives (No.116) have expressed their concern about a variety of issues which they see as discrimination against the female form of the game.


“We are very worried about the lack of support from the RFET in many sporting, structural and global areas of women’s tennis both for the present and looking for the future. We want the RFET to acknowledge its errors and solve a large number of questions,” states the letter, as reported by Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo.


The problem areas include a lack of medical resources and structure for women’s tennis, a decrease in the number of ITF tournaments held in Spain, a lack of structural investment, and the need for greater professional support for the Fed Cup team. According to the players, these issues were presented to the Federation in 2009, but no improvement has been made. The letter concludes, “Very much against our will, we have been forced to take a unanimous decision to stop playing and forming part of the national team for the 2011 Fed Cup.” The RFET acknowledged receipt of the letter, but are yet to issue a response.


The last time the boycott of a Davis or Fed Cup tie occurred was in 2009, when the Autralian Davis Cup team refused to travel to Chennai, India, citing security concerns, and were fined $10,00 US Dollars by the International Tennis Federation (ITF). A similar situation occurred when the Danish Davis Cup team refused to compete against Algeria in Algiers in 2004, but was not fined or suspended. India boycotted the 1974 Davis Cup final in South Africa in an apartheid protest.


Spain, who have won the Fed Cup five times, lost to Australia in World Group II of the Fed Cup in February this year, but defeated Poland in the play-offs to avoid relegation. They are due to play Estonia in Tallinn in the first round of the World Group II  between 5-6 February 2011.

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