Faced with the loss of another name player--Wimbledon finalist Chris Lewis--the cochairman of the D.C. National Bank Classic said yesterday the Men's International Professional Tennis Council should have the authority to designate where players compete in certain situations.
"Maybe there should be a rule that if a Super Series tournament doesn't have top-10 players, then any players committed to a smaller tournament ought to move up," said Cochairman John Harris. "It doesn't make sense that those tournaments taking the minimal risk in terms of prize money should get those players when top tournaments need them."
The D.C. National Bank Classic lost three name players before play began: Gene Mayer and Lewis to injuries, and Yannick Noah, who was suspended for 42 days after winning the French Open. But others are conspicuously absent.
"If they want to investigate something, they ought to investigate why Eliot Teltscher, Guillermo Vilas and Jose Higueras are playing in Europe in smaller tournaments when this event is offering $200,000," said Harris, who sent a telegram to Marshall Happer, head of the MIPTC, raising that question.
Although he declined to say what would attract those players to smaller tournaments, the obvious implication is that they would be drawn by guaranteed appearance money.
"The problem is some greed," he said. "And I just don't know about the values of some players. I'm not sure how edcuated they are and I'm not sure how much they want to put back into the game."
Continued Harris: "One year, we lost Jimmy Connors when he broke a finger. In terms of players dropping out before play began, this is the worst situation we've encountered in 15 years."
Lewis, the No. 4 seed, withdrew yesterday morning because of a neck injury that forced him to retire during a semifinal match last weekend in Stuttgart, West Germany. He will be replaced by Charles Strode, of El Cajon, Calif., a lucky loser in the final round of the qualifying tournament.