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Sports

German Tennis Pro Schuettler Allowed To Play in Olympics

Wimbledon semi-finalist Rainer Schuettler of Germany will be allowed to compete at the Olympics in Beijing according to a Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruling made Monday, Aug. 4.

Man holding tennis racket hitting ball

Rainer Schuettler won an appeal to the CAS for a spot in the Olympic Games

"Rainer Schuettler is declared entitled to participate in the men's single tennis tournament of the Olympic Games in Beijing," the CAS said in a statement.

Schuettler, 32, was nominated for Beijing by the German Olympic Committee but the International Tennis Federation (ITF) ruling body said he was not among those eligible to be in the 56-player field. That field was based on the world ranking from June 9 and on withdrawal and non-entry of other players.

After his denial, Schuettler appealed to CAS on the grounds that he was ranked high enough to be in the field for the August 10-17 Olympic tournament.

"The CAS Panel found that Rainer Schuettler was among the top players eligible for the Olympic tournament according to the ITF criteria set up in their rules and that there was a discretion in the German NOC to enter the players of its choice from amongst such eligible players," the CAS judges said.

ITF furious at the decision

Stick figure holding tennis racket

ITF hit back, saying the ruling could ultimately harm their relationship with the Olympics

The ITF responded by issuing a furious statement that warned of a precedent for other sports federations and accusing the German Olympic Committee (DOSB) of a lack of understanding of tennis.

"The ITF is very disappointed with the decision and feels that the precedent set today could ultimately harm the rights of international federations to set qualification criteria and puts the role of the International Federation in the Olympic Games into discussion," said the ITF.

They also leveled the accusation that Schuettler was stealing places from teammates.

"While recognizing that the German NOC may not understand how professional tennis works, there is no excuse for Mr. Schuettler who is prepared to take a place that was earned by his compatriot Denis Gremelmayr and of next alternate Michael Berrer. The ITF wishes him the best of luck even if he was not eligible for Beijing."

But DOSB general director Michael Vesper said the ITF were sore losers now that the DOSB nomination authority had been confirmed by CAS.

"That's hitting below the belt. You don't do that in sport," said Vesper. "They were made to eat their own words."

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