Iranian tennis player goes against grain, plays Israeli

Cohen and Russian doubles partner Egor Tsarapkin came out victorious against Iranian opponent Sarkissian and Russian Daniil Zhibul.

By ALEX WINSTON
July 19, 2019 14:35
1 minute read.
Tennis

Tennis. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Despite Iranian-Israeli tensions, two tennis players remained focus purely on sport. During a tennis doubles match in a youth tournament in Yerevan, Armenia, Israeli Noam Cohen faced off against Iranian Miro Sarkissian.

Cohen and Russian doubles partner Egor Tsarapkin came out victorious against Iranian opponent Sarkissian and Russian Daniil Zhibul.

Speaking about an interaction with the Iranian during the game, Cohen said, "At one point my partner accidentally hit me in the head with the ball and the Iranian immediately asked me if I was all right."

Cohen immigrated to Israel from France and trains at the Tennis and Education Center in Ramat Hasharon with coach Eliran Doev.

"I knew I was going to play against an Iranian player, and I knew he was not going to drop out. He represents Iran, but he lives in Armenia," Cohen told Ynet. "One of the Israeli tennis players, Eitan Michaeli, who trains at the tennis center in Beeersheba, is friendly with him, always shakes his hand, talks to him and says he is a good guy. He told me that it doesn't bother him to play an Israeli."

"Of course we shook hands," Cohen said after the game.

Israel has no diplomatic relations with Iran and sporting events are often used by the Iranian regime to highlight this lack of relations. In all forms of sport, Iranians have refused to play against Israelis, sometimes deliberately losing matches in order to not have to face an Israeli in the next round or feigning injury to withdraw from the match.

In judo, Iranian judoka Saeid Mollaei forfeited a match at the Paris Grand Slam in February of this year in order to avoid facing Israeli Sagi Muki in the next round by feigning an injury.


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