Diplomatic solution as Peer receives wild card into Dubai event

 

Dubai

The very idea of an organisation here in the United Arab Emirates choosing to invite an Israeli to take part in a sporting event is highly improbable, given that there are no diplomatic relations between the two countries. The idea of such an invitation being extended to an Israeli once at the centre of a furore that threatened the future of one of the UAE's most important competitions might have seemed even more unlikely – but exactly that scenario is being played out here at this week's Dubai Duty Free Championships.

Three years after the UAE refused to grant Shahar Peer a visa to play in the tournament, the 24-year-old Israeli is here courtesy of a wild card. Peer, who was subsequently allowed into the country to play in the event in 2010 and 2011, did not have a high enough world ranking to gain direct entry this time, but has made such a good impression here in the last two years that Salah Tahlak, the tournament director, gave her a wild card.

Peer, who reached the semi-finals two years ago, meets Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska in the second round of the singles today and is through to the same stage of the doubles after joining forces with Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez to beat the fancied Australians Sam Stosur and Casey Dellacqua yesterday.

"I'm really happy to be here," Peer said. "I really appreciate them coming forward. I think we've been doing amazing things here in the last few years, so I think it's very good for everybody."

Peer's exclusion in 2009, when the tournament said her presence "would have antagonised our fans" because of Israel's military intervention in Gaza, cost the event a record fine of $300,000 (£190,000) by the Women's Tennis Association. Organisers were also warned the WTA would not sanction the tournament in future if there was any repeat.

Peer herself has had nothing but praise for the event – even though all her matches are played amid tightened security on an outside court and she has to change in a separate room from all the other women.

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?
Season's finale brings the end of an era for top coaches and players across the continent

The end of an era across the continent

It's time to say farewell to Klopp, Clement, Casillas and Xavi this weekend as they move on to pastures new, reports Pete Jenson
Bin Laden documents released: Papers reveal his obsession with attacking the US and how his failure to keep up with modern jihad led to Isis

'Focus on killing American people'

Released Bin Laden documents reveal obsession with attacking United States
Life hacks: The innovations of volunteers and medical workers are helping Medécins Sans Frontières save people around the world

Medécins Sans Frontières's life hacks

The innovations of volunteers and medical workers around the world are helping the charity save people
Ireland's same-sex marriage vote: As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?

Same-sex marriage

As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?
The underworld is going freelance: Why The Godfather's Mafia model is no longer viable

The Mafia is going freelance

Why the underworld model depicted in The Godfather is no longer viable