Israeli tennis star Dudi Sela.
The ATP Tour tournament scheduled to take place at Ramat Hasharon next month was canceled on Monday due to the ongoing security situation in the region.
After 18 years without a top-tier tournament in Israel, Ramat Hasharon was set to host an ATP World Tour 250 event between September 15 and 21.
Israel hosted an ATP Tour event for 10 straight years between 1987 and 1996, but hasn’t since. Next month’s tournament was set to offer $1 million in prize money and the organizers had hoped to attract several big names.
However, with the rocket fire towards central Israel continuing in recent days, the ATP Board of Directors notified the Israel Tennis Association on Monday that the tournament is canceled.
“We really regret the ATP’s decision,” said ITA chairman Asi Tuchmayer. “We did everything we could so that the tournament would take place in Israel. We had effectively finished the preparations. Ultimately, we hope that peace and quiet will return to our region, which is more important than any tournament.”
Tuchmayer added that the ITA had asked to host four Challenger events in 2015 instead of the canceled ATP event.
ITA CEO Shlomo Glickstein admitted that the decision was inevitable.
“This is a massive disappointment,” said Glickstein. “We were given the tournament three months ago and we worked day and night ever since. We dreamed of the day that a big tournament would return to Israel and we are disappointed that it didn’t work out this year. We understand that the ATP’s role is to take care of the safety of the players and, considering the situation, we accept the decision.”
The ATP tournament in Ramat Hasharon was scheduled to start the day after the third and final day of Israel’s Davis Cup World Group playoff tie against Argentina at Nokia Arena in Tel Aviv .
The ITF is set to make its final decision regarding the Davis Cup tie on August 11, but has already asked the ITA to provide alternative venues. The ITA submitted four options on Monday: New York, Delray Beach (Florida), Krakow (Poland) and Tallinn (Estonia).
“It is slightly frustrating that the ATP canceled the tournament six weeks before it was set to be held,” said Andy Ram, who is set to play his final match before retirement in the tie against Argentina.
“I was involved in organizing the tournament and I’m saddened by the decision. All that is left to do is to hope that the Davis Cup tie against Argentina will be held in Israel.”
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