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.

BUY WIMBLEDON TICKETS

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.

Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy