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SELES REMAINS RELUCTANT ABOUT RETURNING

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Monica Seles, absent from the pro tennis circuit for nearly 16 months, says she is still thinking about tennis but is reluctant to say when she will return.

"I don't like to put a date on it," Seles said in a phone interview from Monte Carlo. "It's the game I love and I just hope for my sake, soon."I am getting stronger every day and doing all the things I should."

Seles was in the small principality on the French Riviera to accept an award from Prince Albert and the royal family for outstanding courage in the face of adversity. Seles said she came to receive the award during the Weight Watchers Celebrity Sports Festival, but emphasized she was not competing.

The 20-year-old Seles has not played since she was stabbed in the left shoulder April 30, 1993, during a tournament in Hamburg, Germany, by a deranged fan obsessed with Steffi Graf.

Seles had won eight Grand Slam tournaments and was ranked No. 1 in the world for almost two years before her inactivity dropped her from the rankings.

The native of Yugoslavia, who is now a U.S. citizen, has been keeping a very low profile since, getting treatment in Vail, Colo. A year ago, she made a brief appearance for the Arthur Ashe foundation at the U. S. Open, which she won twice. This year's U.S. Open begins Monday.

She has made rare public appearances since and says she has been practicing, but recently had to take some time off.

"I had a small injury," the left-hander said. "It was a sprain on a finger on my hand, my right hand luckily. I had to take about 2-3 weeks off. "

She was listed as a celebrity coach for one of the competitors, Kathleen Sullivan, a former television news anchorwoman and sports personality.

The celebrity tournament, now in its 20th year, includes Tony Randall, Patrick Wayne, Roger Moore and Jack Klugman as participants.

Seles said she was also taking advantage to spend some time in Europe with her family on vacation.