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World No. 1 player pulls out of Federation Cup, U.S. tournaments

February 21, 1997

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) _ Tennis star Steffi Graf, who is recovering from an injured knee, said Friday she will not play in the Federation Cup and two important U.S. tournaments next month.

The news means that 16-year-old Martina Hingis, who has won four touraments in a row, including the Australian Open, could well take over as the world’s top-ranked tennis player next month.

Hingis is currently only 750.50 points behind Graf in the rankings.

Graf was forced to withdraw at the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo on Feb. 2, where she was to have faced Hingis in the final.

Her injury was diagnosed as an acute infection below the left kneecap by Dr. Hans Paessler of Heidelberg University Clinic.

More recent checks of the knee by Paessler, show that the infection has not healed Graf said Friday. She said she would have to take four weeks off to heal properly.

``It is too bad and very disappointing, but I must regretfully give up on the Federation Cup and the tournaments in Indian Wells and Key Biscayne. The infection in my knee is not yet healed enough,″ the 27-year-old Graf said.

She will miss the Federation Cup on March 1-2 in Mannheim against Czechoslovakia, and tournaments at Indian Wells, Calif., and Key Biscayne, Fla., the following two weeks.

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