Wimbledon: Sela loses in first round, then slams OCI

Pe'er to open Wimbledon campaign today, Ram and Erlich to complete lengthy match.

By ANDREW SHERWOOD, JPOST CORRESPONDENT IN WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND
June 24, 2008 00:24
2 minute read.
Wimbledon: Sela loses in first round, then slams OCI

Dudi Sela 298.88. (photo credit: AP)

 
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Dudi Sela crashed out of his first Wimbledon in straight sets on Monday before slamming the Olympic Committee of Israel (OCI) for not allowing him to compete at the Beijing Olympics this summer. Sela, who lost 4-6, 5-7, 4-6 to Belgian Olivier Rochus in the first round, also denied claims that a successful Wimbledon campaign could have sealed him a place in Beijing. "I knew already before this match I wasn't going to the Olympics because two days ago I was told the signing up for the Games was already closed," Sela told The Jerusalem Post. "They said I still had a chance because they bullshit," he said of the OCI. Having appealed last week, Sela still can't come to terms with the OCI's decision. "I told them I wanted to go. They haven't had a men's singles player there for the past 20 years so why not? I met the International Olympic Committee's criteria, but they don't want to send me and I don't understand why. "It's not like I'm 500th in the world, I'm 60th. When Nicolas Massu won the Olympics, he was ranked 70th so it shows anything can happen. "I really don't know what they're doing. All I can do now is hope to play in four years time when it's in London." In response to Sela's attack the OCI said: "We are sorry that Sela didn't succeed in his first match at Wimbledon and achieve an outstanding result at the All England Club as he was required. "But we continue to stress that to take part in the Olympic Games you must meet both the International and Israeli criteria, which Sela didn't do. We value Sela's ability very much and we're sorry he didn't meet the Israeli criteria." Reflecting on his first round exit, Sela conceded the better player won. "I wasn't very good and he was much better than me today," he said. "I wasn't concentrated, I don't know why. He played the important points better and didn't give me any chances. "It was my first time here at the All England Club. He had more experience than me and it showed." Israel's two women begin their singles campaign on Tuesday and Shahar Pe'er is looking forward to her clash with Great Britain's Kate O'Brien. Pe'er, was victorious in the women's doubles on Monday with Belarus's Victoria Azarenka, beating Czech duo Lucie Hradecka and Renata Voracova 7-5, 6-4. Looking ahead to her singles match, she said: "The first round is always tough whoever you play and especially on grass where you need to feel your best as you only play on it two weeks a year." Commenting on the home support her opponent will get, she added: "I hope it won't affect my game and I hope to play my good tennis. "She's playing at home and anyone who plays at home always plays better, though the British people are known for being polite so I'm sure that won't be too much of a problem." Tzipi Obziler (120) will play Russian Alisa Kleybanova (47) in her first round match. Also Monday, Israeli Harel Levy and partner Jim Thomas lost 3-6, 1-6, 3-6 to Janko Tipsarevic and Viktor Troicki in the first round of the doubles tournament. Andy Ram and Yoni Erlich's first round match against Americans Scott Lipsky and David Martin was suspended with the score tied at 8-8 in the fifth set. Lipsky and Martin won the first two sets 7-5, 6-4, but the Israeli duo tied the match by winning the next two sets 6-3, 6-3. Allon Sinai contributed to this report.

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