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|June 11, 2001||
No Carnival at Wimbledon this year
Roland Garros erupted to a Latin beat on Sunday as hundreds of Brazilians paraded around the sprawling grounds in Carnival-style celebrations after Gustavo Kuerten's French Open victory.
But the colourful scenes are unlikely to be repeated at the grass courts of Wimbledon in the foreseeable future, and certainly not this year.
The only parade the Brazilian world number one and three times French Open champion is likely to lead at the All England Club will be the one marking a boycott of Wimbledon by the world's top clay-courters.
Kuerten confirmed after his 6-7 7-5 6-2 6-0 win over Alex Corretja that he would not take part in the season's third Grand Slam, making good his threat to stay away from the All England Club if they did not change their controversial seeding system.
He cloaked his Wimbledon absence in the need for a rest but the Brazilian had long ago made his feelings known.
"I will rest for two weeks," Kuerten said. "I have still some problems with my groin which I must watch, so I am going to rest a lot.
"I have been playing a lot and have not had time to recover."
Kuerten had said earlier he would support any boycott of the tournament organised in protest at the seeding.
Wimbledon, threatened with a revolt by top players, scrapped the committee it used to decide seeds for the men's singles in April.
But the tournament organisers have said they will not adhere strictly to ATP rankings when deciding seeds. Wimbledon are to make a statement on Monday which is widely believed to concern seeding.
The Grand Slam committee is expected to announce the seeding system for Wimbledon on Monday and if it does not meet the approval of clay-courters, such as Corretja and fellow Spaniard Juan Carlos Ferrero, more players are likely to join Kuerten on the sidelines.
"I will make my decision after they make theirs," said Corretja, who boycotted last year's Wimbledon along with fellow Spaniard Albert Costa. "I would like to see how they manage everything this year."
Kuerten's love affair with Paris and the French Open is easy to understand and in sharp contrast to the increasingly tense relationship between Wimbledon and the sport's most prominent players.
Certainly the Brazilian will not be found wearing any shirts with "I love Wimbledon" scribbled on them to match the t-shirt he wore on Sunday bearing the message "I love Roland Garros".
Mail Sports Editor
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