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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kafelnikov Leaves Open Over Seeding Controversy

NEW YORK -- Battered by a near boycott and a walkout by one of its seeded players, the U.S. Open got underway Monday.


The final Grand Slam tournament of the year won't include Yevgeny Kafelnikov, the No. 7 seed and French Open champion who withdrew Saturday, protesting the way the U.S. Tennis Association arranged the field.


Tournament officials ignored rankings in seeding the players, causing a major controversy that led to an unprecedented re-drawing of the field. It didn't pacify Kafelnikov, who left anyway.


In a show of force, many of the seeded players gathered Sunday to say they would insist that the next Slam event, the Australian Open, adhere to the rankings.


"The procedure used to remake the men's field was inappropriate and unfair and brought questions about motive," said Mark Miles, chief executive officer of the ATP Tour.


"It is a matter of principle," said Todd Martin, president of the ATP Tour Players Council. "It goes to objectivity and professionalism. To subjectively change the rankings tarnished the image and reputation of this tournament."


The outrage developed when the Open seeds were not announced until after the draw, a reversal of usual policy, creating the perception that it was designed to favor American players. That caused Thursday's unprecedented re-draw for the men's field because, tournament chairman Les Snyder said, "The USTA and the U.S. Open must be above reproach." The seedings, however, were not changed.


Snyder responded to the player complaints late Sunday.


"Grand Slam rules state that seedings are at the discretion of each Grand Slam tournament committee," he said. "I went by the rule.


"The highest level of fairness and objectivity was included in the seedings. It's not the first time the seedings have deviated from the rankings. Wimbledon each year bases its seedings on actual grass court results."


Hamlet Cup. In Commack, New York, fifth-seed Andrei Medvedev of Ukraine beat unseeded Martin Damm from the Czech Republic 7-5, 6-3 to win the Waldbaum Hamlet Cup tennis tournament Sunday.


It was Medvedev's 10th career ATP Tour title, but his first since winning in Hamburg last year.


Canadian Open. In Toronto, third-seeded Wayne Ferreira of South Africa won the 13th tournament of his career Sunday, defeating unseeded Australian Todd Woodbridge 6-2, 6-4 at the Canadian Open.


Ferreira, who will move from 10th to seventh in the world rankings after the victory, took home a first-prize check worth $288,000.


The 24-year-old South African has won his last six meetings with the 43rd-ranked Woodbridge, and Sunday he had more power and more consistency than the 26-year-old Australian.


Toshiba Classic. In Carlsbad, California, Japan's Kimiko Date lost the first four games before rallying for a 3-6, 6-3, 6-0 victory over top-seeded Arantxa Sanchez Vicario of Spain in the final of the $450,000 Toshiba Tennis Classic on Sunday.