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Swine flu threatens Israelis' appearance in Australia Open

    Two of Israel’s top male stars could miss the Australian Open because of swine flu.

    Harel Levy and Dudi Sela were put in quarantine in an Austrian hospital after being diagnosed with the virus. Consequently, they were forced to withdraw from the Salzburg Challenger tournament.

    The illness was a major blow to Levy who has climbed steadily up the ATP rankings from 220 in the summer to 119. He was looking finish the year in the top 110, thus guaranteeing qualification for the main draw of next month’s grand slam.

    Ranked 43, Sela has not played for six weeks due to exhaustion. Working under new coach Amos Mansdorf, Sela had received special permission as a top 50 player to participate in a Challenger tournament as part of his preparations for the 2010 season. He had already reached the second round of the Salzburg tournament having beaten Robin Vik of the Czech Republic.

    The Israelis have both returned to Israel and hope to resume training soon.

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