As the WTA tennis season moves along, we noticed today that world #11 Shahar Peer (Israel) was forced to play in a “secluded” outside tennis court. Peer played against, now after today’s win, world #1 Caroline Wozniacki. Peer lost to Wozniacki in straight sets 2-6, 4-6. There’s a couple of concerns that we have with the WTA right now.
As most of us know, in 2009, Peer made waves in the tennis world when she was not allowed to play in the Dubai tennis championships because she was denied a visa by the United Arab Emirates. Having no visa, Peer was unable to enter into the UAE.
The UAE got a lot of push back from the WTA and several of the tennis pros on the WTA tour. After all the bad press the UAE got from this whole mess, they granted Peer a visa in 2010. However, with the visa came a lot of restrictions and rules for the Israeli; she was not allowed to interact with other tennis players off court, had to work out in a different and separate gym, and she also had a military style escort from her hotel and the tennis venue. Adding to the already immense pressure, the Dubai tournament was held during the assassination of Hamas operative Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, which the UAE blamed on Israel.
Now in 2011, Peer has been going through the same motions, again, being cast an outsider. Having to play on show courts (she’s apparently not allowed to step foot on center court, really?) as well as being under the same strict supervision by the UAE.
We understand that the tournament organizers are maintaining the peace between opposing countries, though this is by far the most ridiculous thing to come out of tennis. What’s the WTA’s stance on all this? Nothing really, they don’t have anything to comment on this situation, nor do they plan on taking Dubai off the schedule. Frankly, we’re outraged that a tennis player is being treated so poorly by a country and by the WTA. No one should have to be put through such a thing.
If we could control the venues that the WTA holds, Dubai would be gone almost instantly, so long, bye bye. This is truly a disgrace on the WTA’s part, they need to do something! At the very least, the WTA can hold the tennis tournament in Dubai every other year.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank Shahar Peer for her determination to continue playing tennis despite the hardships she is facing. It certainly takes character to remain positive in times that she faces like this.