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Stevenson To Play at Hilton Head

April 15, 2000

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (AP) _ Alexandra Stevenson has chosen to play in next week’s Family Circle Cup despite the NAACP’s boycott of South Carolina for flying the Confederate flag on its Statehouse.

``I’ve always planned to play the Family Circle Cup tournament because I am a tennis professional and that is where I do my job,″ said Stevenson, the daughter of basketball great Julius Erving. ``I want to come into this state and work alongside all races.″

The tournament begins Monday.

On Wednesday, Serena Williams withdrew from the tournament to support the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People boycott. The NAACP has called for economic sanctions until the flag is removed from the Statehouse.

Lisa Thomas, director of the Family Circle Cup, said she was proud of Stevenson’s decision.

``She understands she has a job, a job to play professional tennis,″ Thomas said.

Stevenson plans to meet with South Carolina Gov. Jim Hodges on Monday to explain her decision.

Stevenson reached the Wimbledon semifinals last season, the first woman qualifier to do so. She is ranked 43rd on the Sanex WTA Tour.

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