No place for politics in tennis: Peer
Israeli tennis star Shahar Peer, refused a visa into the United Arab Emirates for the WTA Dubai Open, Tuesday insisted there was no place for politics in sport while recognising it would not have been right to stop the tournament going ahead.
"While this is a very difficult moment for me personally and professionally, and the fact that the visa denial was issued at the last moment, I firmly believe that my fellow competitors should not be harmed the way I was," Peer said in a statement released through the WTA Tour.
"They were in or on their way to Dubai and denying them the right to play in this year's tournament at the last moment would not make the wrong right. In fact, it troubles me greatly that my doubles partner Anna-Lena Groenefeld from Germany will not be able to compete as we had planned," Peer said.
Peer praised her fellow players and fans for a "tremendous outpouring of support and empathy over the UAE decision to deny me a visa" while stressing she wanted to see politics and sport kept strictly apart.
"There should be no place for politics or discrimination in professional tennis or indeed any sport," she insisted.
"Going forward, I am confident that the Tour will take appropriate actions to ensure that this injustice is not allowed to occur in the future, and that the Tour will make sure I will not be further harmed in the short and long term."
The WTA has intimated the end of the 17-year-old two million dollar event remains a real possibility next year if the situation does not change.