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Tennis-Wimbledon-Martin seeks to cool boycott threats
( 2003-06-26 09:19) (Agencies)

Players' representative Todd Martin has played down suggestions that there might be a boycott of grand slams, saying he was confident negotiations would solve the dispute over the distribution of profits.

Speaking after winning his second-round match against Gustavo Kuerten on Wednesday, Martin said" "We're very confident that the negotiations that we're embarking on will go well enough to not warrant the use of a contingency plan," he said. "And if it does it will be because of a failure on probably both sides ..."

The possibility of players shunning the four top tournaments emerged after a meeting between around 120 players at the All England Club on the eve of the tournament.

"If the players ended up being left in a position, which we hope very much will not be the case, where the economic value of the position of the grand slams is simply not going to be fairly shared, then the players' alternative would be to play elsewhere," ATP chief Mark Miles said following Saturday night's meeting.

The alternative suggested involved players appearing at another venue and competing for charity.

Martin said on Wednesday grand slams should do more to help the professional game because by doing so they would be boosting tennis worldwide."

"...the players feel very strongly that the grand slams need to do their fair share for the professional game -- and that does not just mean prize money, that does not just mean promotions...," Martin, one of the most respected players on the tour, said.

"The numbers don't lie. It's the percentage of revenues they put back into the professional game it's not as high as we believe it should be.

"We're trying to encourage them to redistribute their budget so that it helps develop the professional game."

The next grand slam is the US Open starting in August and Martin said he believed it would go ahead as normal.

Last week the US Open announced an increase in prize money, bringing the total purse to $17,074,000.

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