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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Seles Won't Return In the 'Near Future'

WASHINGTON -- The agent for tennis star Monica Seles said the player "will not be ready to play tennis again in the near future" because she is still emotionally unfit to return to the court. Seles, 20, has not played in a tournament since she was stabbed by a spectator during a match in Hamburg on April 30. She is not entered in any tournaments this year.


The announcement came as most of the top female players are at the French Open indoor championship in Paris. Meanwhile, Seles, who has won eight Grand Slam titles and had been ranked No. 1 for almost two years in a row at the time she was attacked, is continuing her rehabilitation at her Sarasota, Florida, home.


Although Seles is practicing without pain, the emotional recovery has been slower, said Stephanie Tolleson of International Management Group.


"Monica has spent the past few months focusing on her physical rehabilitation." Tolleson said in the statement. "However, there are still emotional issues resulting from the stabbing attack.


"The speculation about Monica's return to the tour heightens as the draw for each week's tournament is announced, and Monica does not want to mislead anyone. She is not entered in any tournaments this year, and she does not know when she will be able to return."


Seles' emotional state apparently was unsettled by the Tonya Harding-Nancy Kerrigan incident, which prompted the media to revive details of the attack on Seles.


"This press release did use the word emotional, but she's not going crazy," a source said. "Mentally, she just goes back and forth. The Kerrigan attack set her back, not when it seemed random, but when it was proved there was some nut again who could get to an athlete."


Seles was attacked last year while sitting in a chair during a changeover in a quarterfinal match against Magdalena Maleeva in the Hamburg tournament.


As Seles fell to the ground holding her left shoulder blade, authorities wrestled with the attacker, Guenther Parche, a German, 38, who was wielding a 10-inch serrated kitchen knife.


Parche later told police that he had not wanted to kill Seles, but merely put her out of commission so that Parche's hero, German star Steffi Graf, could assume the No. 1 ranking, which Seles held from September 1991 to June 1993.


Parche, who was given a two-year suspended sentence in October but may stand trial again on a state appeal, has gotten his wish. Graf rose quickly to the No. 1 spot. On Monday, Seles dropped out of the world rankings for the first time since 1988.