Seles to File Negligence Suit

BOCA RATON, Florida -- Monica Seles, facing perhaps the end of her tennis career, is striking back at her assailant and demanding at least $10 million from the German Tennis Federation for losses caused by the knife attack on her in Hamburg last year. Seles disclosed for the first time Thursday that she is appealing the sentence of G--nther Parche, who was released on probation without serving time in jail for stabbing her in the back on court a year ago April 30. The Cologne attorney for the formerly top-ranked women's tennis player, who recently became a U.S. citizen, also approached the federation as a first step toward filing a lawsuit against it as organizer of the Citizen Cup tournament. Wilhelm Danelzik, in a letter released by Seles' agent at the International Management Group, cites a number of examples of inadequate security at the Hamburg tournament. He said "it can not be doubted that insufficient security measures," made it possible for the attack to be committed. Seles has not played since that assault. Danelzik added that "this year's Citizen Cup tournament clearly has shown that sufficient security measures to avoid an attack on players sitting on the benches during breaks would not only be possible but reasonable. "We are not indicting insufficient security at sporting events in general. There was gross negligence on the part of the organizers of the Citizen Cup, which resulted in the attack and serious injury on Miss Seles, and that attack could have been prevented by adequate security measures." Reached in Germany, Danelzik said "the next step now depends on the response of the German Tennis Federation, and that, of course, I can't predict. "It's hard to specify the damage because it is still going on. But at least $10 million is correct." That amount, he said, includes actual losses from tournament winnings, and tennis and non-tennis related endorsements. Seles, 20, has won eight Grand Slam titles since 1990 and had career earnings of $7.4 million from official tournaments. "I'm trying very hard to overcome the impact of the stabbing last year," Seles said in the statement. "I've always loved playing tennis, and it's very difficult for me not to be able to live the life I always thought I would live." Seles is particularly upset that Parche was not sentenced to prison. She said she is seeking to appeal his sentence, which has also been appealed by the legal prosecutor in Germany. "Monica has not been able to overcome the emotional impact of the knife attack, which continues to be a problem for her," said her father and coach, Karolj. "Monica wishes she could have been playing on the tennis tour by now, but she is unable to do so. She has been doing her best to overcome the emotional impact of the stabbing incident. The knife attack on the tennis court has interrupted her tennis career and her daily life. Unfortunately she is not ready or able to go back to tournament play at this time."