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AM-Names In The Game

May 31, 1996

PARIS (AP) _ Monica Seles is campaigning to get former Olympic gold medalist Mary Joe Fernandez back on the U.S. team for the Atlanta Games.

The USTA selected players for singles based on computer rankings of April 29. At that time, Lindsay Davenport was No. 10 and Fernandez was No. 11.

That eliminated Fernandez, who has since surpassed Davenport in the rankings and is now one spot ahead of her at No. 10.

Besides Seles and Davenport, the team consists of Chanda Rubin and Gigi Fernandez.

Mary Joe Fernandez and Gigi Fernandez won the doubles title at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.

``I think it’s very unfair what’s been happening,″ Seles said. ``I think the four of us should get together and do everything in our hands possible to get Mary Joe on the team.

``She single-handedly won (the Fed Cup match) against Austria (in 1992). She’s the defending gold medalist. I think when you have a country with that many top players, they have to make an exception. I really believe that very strongly.″

Seles said she and her teammates should appeal to the ITF, the IOC and the USTA.

``I think we have to get to the bottom of this ... I think we have to do it collectively. We have to be in agreement with that. I think we have to do it soon, though.″

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YANNICK’S SWAN SONG: How do you say farewell? How about with a song?

Yannick Noah, the 1983 French Open champion, grabbed an on-court microphone Thursday and sang to the 10,000 spectators after he and Henri Leconte lost a doubles match Thursday to Jeff Tarango and Olivier Delaitre.

Noah led the crowd in a rendition of ``Ye-Ye,″ a pop tune with an African beat by the French rock group ``Tetes Brulees.″

``If you like my records so much, all you have to do is go out and buy them,″ Noah told the crowd.

Noah, 36, has virtually retired from tennis and has successfully pursued a career in music. He now plans only to play a few events on the seniors tour.

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PUTTING UP THE STARS: After years of playing with the stars, Sophie Amiach is now putting up the stars.

Based in San Antonio, Texas, the retired French player has started her own travel company called ``40-Love″ to help players find housing at major tournaments.

``By choice I often stayed in private homes when I was on the tour,″ she told l’Equipe, the sports daily.

``But I know the hotel routine too and it’s hell. At 6,000 francs (about $1,200) a week, it’s a strain. My system is cheaper, more flexible and 100 times more pleasant.″

Amiach said she finds housing for about half that amount, which allows some players to pocket part of their housing allowance and even come out ahead.

Though most of her customers are struggling, low-ranked players, this year 40-Love set up Mary Pierce and Arnaud Boetch in private luxury accommodations in Paris.

Martina Navratilova, Billie Jean King and Conchita Martinez have used 40-Love, too.

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BALL BATTLE: Some players are unhappy with the tennis balls used at the clay court tournaments before the French Open. They want the same Roland Garros ball used for the French Open to be used at all the events.

``One week they play Roland Garros, next week they play ATP Tour Penn, which are the worst balls ever,″ Goran Ivanisevic said. ``I think they should have one ball for the clay court season, one ball for hard court season, and not change every week.″

Thomas Muster was in agreement.

``I just think that all the tournaments before the French Open should use the same ball,″ he said. ``Otherwise, why would you play Hamburg or play Rome or play all this preparation for Paris if every tournament uses a different ball?″

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