Some of the controversy surrounding American Alexandra Stevenson, 18, was settled by the All England club today when officials released a statement saying Stevenson would be paid for her accomplishments at Wimbledon.
Stevenson, whose fourth-round match against Lisa Raymond was postponed by rain, had been told that she could not be financially compensated because she did not announce she was turning professional until midway through the tournament. But Wimbledon rules do not require players to announce their professional status before the tournament begins; they instead require players to register if they want to be amateurs.
"The championship player guidelines state that in order to protect their amateur status a player has to register as an amateur," the statement said. "Since Alexandra Stevenson did not register as an amateur for this event, we have assumed all along that she has been playing as a professional, and is fully entitled to receive the prize money she is due."
Stevenson is entitled to $42,340 for reaching the fourth round here; she will be guaranteed at least $79,442 if she defeats Raymond.
The money is just one issue that has swirled around Stevenson, who is of mixed racial decent. Her mother, Samantha, has accused the WTA Tour of racism, saying the negative feelings in the locker room toward family friends Venus and Serena Williams exist because the sisters are black. Samantha, who is white, also said Alexandra, whose father is black, was the victim of a racial slur when she was playing in a junior tournament about a year ago.
A Little Help From Above
While many Wimbledon officials and fans spent the day cursing the rain, No. 3 seed Lindsay Davenport was grateful for the showers that interrupted her match midway through the first set. Davenport had been down 5-3 to No. 14 seed Barbara Schett when the players were ushered off the court, and she used the 63-minute delay to calm her nerves and rally to win 7-6 (9-7), 6-1.
"This is one of those times when the rain delay helped me immensely," Davenport said. "I was really nervous to go out there and play. The rain came and I was able to relax a little bit, and then I could really think about how I wanted to play and the way I needed to play to do better.
"To get through to the quarterfinals was my goal here, so I'm just happy that's over with. I just wanted really badly to get to the quarters and get the chance to play Jana Novotna."
Novotna, the tournament's defending champion, was not sure how well she would do here after she sprained her ankle playing doubles at the French Open three weeks ago. But she looked strong today, defeating Nathalie Dechy, 6-3, 7-5, despite several rain delays.
"I'm not surprised Lindsay is looking forward to playing me, since I have never beaten her before," Novotna said, smiling. "But this is the time."