Monday, November 29, 1999

Karlovic, Ancic and Gasquet out of Wimbledon

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Wimbledon was hit by some high-profile withdrawals on the eve of the draw, tournament organisers said on Thursday.Two seeds, Ivo Karlovic and Radek Stepanek, were forced to pull out with injuries and they were joined by former semi-finalists Mario Ancic and Richard Gasquet and 2002 runner-up David Nalbandian.Croatia's Karlovic, who was seeded 25th, has a foot injury and his absence will provoke a sigh of relief among those who have been exposed to his destructive serving.Last year he banged down 158 aces on his way to the quarter-finals where he was beaten by Roger Federer.Victor Hanescu of Romania is now bumped up to 31st seed, the All England Club announced.Stepanek, seeded 22, injured his knee while practising on Thursday meaning France's Julien Benneteau now moves into a seeded position."I had cleared all tests on Monday morning without a single problem and had planned to fly out on Tuesday for Wimbledon preparations. I just wanted to try out a racket and this happened," Stepanek told Czech television.Frenchman Gasquet is still troubled by a knee injury while Nalbandian is still on the road back after hip surgery.Ancic, whose career has been plagued with injury and illness, has a bad back.(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Pritha Sarkar; To query or comment on this story email

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