An Israeli-less main draw at Wimbledon

Blue-and-white hopes extinguished as Pe’er, Glushko join men in qualifying elimination.

June 21, 2013 03:30
2 minute read.
Shahar Pe'er

Shahar Pe'er 370. (photo credit: re)

For the first time in 15 years, Israel will not have any representatives in the singles tournaments of a Grand Slam event after both Shahar Pe’er and Julia Glushko were knocked out in the third and final round of the qualifiers at Wimbledon on Thursday.

Dudi Sela and Amir Weintraub were sent packing in the men’s qualifiers earlier in the week, meaning there will not be a single Israeli in the singles main draws at the All England Club, something which hasn’t happened at any Grand Slam tournament since the 1998 Australian Open.

Pe’er, who failed to receive direct entry to the main draw of a Grand Slam for the first time since the Aussie Open in 2005 due to her lowly ranking of No. 168, was thrashed 6-3, 6-0 by Michelle Larcher De Brito (131) of Portugal on Thursday.

She will miss her first major since the 2009 French Open, which she sat out due to injury, and just her second Grand Slam main draw in the past 34 played since making her debut at Roland Garros eight years ago.

Thursday’s defeat marked yet another new low for Pe’er, who after seven years officially lost her status as the Israel No. 1 last week.

Pe’er, who had been Israel’s top ranked women’s player since overtaking Anna Smashnova in 2006, peaking at No. 11 in January 2011, was leapfrogged by Glushko (129), who didn’t fare much better than her countrywoman on Thursday, losing 6- 3, 6-1 to Maria Elena Camerin (175).

Glushko reached a career-best ranking after coming through three rounds of qualifiers to progress to the main draw at Roland Garros, but will likely have to wait at least one more year to make her Wimbledon debut.

Glushko still has an outside chance to receive a main draw berth at the All England Club as a lucky loser should higher ranked players pull out before the start of the tournament on Monday.

Meanwhile, two former Grand Slam champions have already retired from the women’s event, with Svetlana Kuznetsova and American Venus Williams both pulling out.

Two-time Grand Slam champion Kuznetsova will miss the tournament with an abdominal strain, resulting in Czech Klara Zakopalova being installed as 32nd seed with the original seeds between 32 and 27 being moved up one place.

Kuznetsova, who was seeded 26th for the grass-court major, was the only player to take a set off eventual champion Serena Williams at this month’s French Open.

The 27-year-old, who has never been past the quarterfinals in 10 previous visits to Wimbledon, was a first-round loser a year ago.

Williams, a five-times singles champion at Wimbledon, will miss out due to a back injury.

The 33-year-old has not played since pulling out of the doubles at this year’s French Open.

“I will not be able to participate in Wimbledon,” Williams wrote on her Facebook page. “I am extremely disappointed as I have always loved The Championships.”

Williams won her last Wimbledon title in 2008.

Reuters contributed to this report

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