Tennis: Seles backs decision to drop Capriati

World number six Monica Seles suffered a shock defeat in the Federation Cup but backed the United States' decision to drop Jennifer Capriati.

World number six Monica Seles suffered a shock defeat in the Federation Cup but backed the United States' decision to drop Jennifer Capriati.

Seles lost 7-6 (9-7) 6-2 to Barbara Schwartz as Austria established a 2-0 lead in their 2002 World Group first-round encounter against the top-seeded Americans in Charlotte.

Billie Jean King, the American captain, announced on Friday that Capriati would not play in this weekend's matches after failing to comply with the "closed, team-only" practice policy.

It was a decision backed by Seles, who said: "I just feel the right decision was made. I have my coach here and I understood the rules. The rules were explained to me. I obliged. We're all here as a team and we need to focus on our tennis, not the distractions."

King said: "I stated the rules on Monday and they weren't adhered to. That's more than once, a lot more than once.

"I have to consider the team. It's just unfortunate. It's never easy to make a decision like that."

However, the Americans, who have won the event a record 17 times, are now one loss away from elimination.

Capriati, the current world number two and reigning Australian Open champion, was to meet Evelyn Fauth in the second singles match on the clay courts of the Olde Providence Racquet Club. Instead, the United States forfeited the match.

The United States won the 1999 and 2000 Fed Cups before pulling out of last year's final due to security worries after the terrorist attacks of September 11.

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