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ATLANTA 1996 OLYMPICS

Injuries Move Seles, Agassi to Top Spots

Tennis: Fernandez and Fernandez get No. 1 seeding in women's doubles.

July 20, 1996|BILL DWYRE | TIMES SPORTS EDITOR

ATLANTA — U.S. tennis players were seeded first Friday in three of the four categories being contested here at the Olympics.

Andre Agassi is No. 1 in men's singles, Monica Seles No. 1 in women's singles and the team of Gigi Fernandez and Mary Joe Fernandez is No. 1 in women's doubles. Of that group, only the Fernandez-Fernandez team took its spot without mitigating circumstance.

Agassi, No. 3 in the world behind Pete Sampras and Thomas Muster, moved up when Sampras dropped out because of an injury earlier this week. Austrian Muster was never entered.

Seles, co-No. 1 in the rankings but certain to be seeded behind French and Wimbledon champion Steffi Graf of Germany in this event, moved up when Graf pulled out because of an injury the same day as Sampras.

Fernandez and Fernandez, not related, won the gold medal in Barcelona in 1992.

The draw, done with a computer for the first time by the sanctioning International Tennis Federation to help ease the complications of a new rule that does not allow two players from the same country to be in the same quarter of a draw, produced at least one intriguing first-round matchup: Agassi versus Sweden's Jonas Bjorkman. Bjorkman, No. 65, is a serve-and-volley specialist who has slipped into the top 20 a couple of times in the last few years.

Other U.S. seedings included MaliVai Washington at No. 4 and Richie Reneberg at No. 11 in men's singles and Chanda Rubin at No. 7 and Lindsay Davenport at No. 9 in women's singles.

In the men's doubles, Australia's Mark Woodforde and Todd Woodbridge are seeded No. 1. The unseeded U.S. team of Washington and Reneberg will open against Oscar Ortiz and Alejandro Hernandez of Mexico.

Among those attending the formal draw ceremony Friday morning was Miroslav Mecir, the 1988 Olympic champion, who has since retired because of an injury.

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