Spanish federeation moves to placate Fed Cup rebels

Valencia:Spain`s tennis federation (RFET) has moved to placate six top players who have threatened to boycott next year`s Fed Cup because they are unhappy with what they see as neglect of the women`s game.

The federation will devote a conference in Pamplona next month to women`s tennis and address issues including training the top players and bringing through younger talent, the RFET said in a statement on Wednesday.

"It must be noted that the National Tennis Congress is focusing exclusively on women`s tennis for the first time," the statement said.

The RFET has refuted accusations from the six highest-ranked Spaniards, including Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez (24) and Carla Suarez Navarro (54), saying it was investing more in the women`s game than ever and was open to dialogue with the players and suggestions for improvements.

Former grand slam champions Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario and Conchita Martinez last week threw their support behind the six rebels, denouncing "the general apathy shown by the federation toward women`s tennis in recent years" in a joint statement with 51 other current and former players.

The Spanish women`s game lags behind the men`s and there are only four players in the WTA top 100 and none higher than Martinez Sanchez at 24.

Men`s world number one Rafa Nadal is one of 14 Spaniards in the ATP top 100, with Fernando Verdasco the next highest at eight, David Ferrer at number 11 and Nicolas Almagro in 16th.

Bureau Report

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