Pe'er denied visa to Dubai tournament

Tennis star was due to become first Israeli to play in UAE; spokesman: They told us at the last minute.

By JEREMY LAST
February 15, 2009 12:14
Pe'er denied visa to Dubai tournament

shahar peer tennis 248 88 ap. (photo credit: AP [file])

 
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Israeli tennis star Shahar Pe'er has been denied a visa for this week's WTA tournament in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Pe'er had been due to make history at the week-long Dubai Tennis Championships as no Israeli has ever played in Dubai, which has no diplomatic relations with Israel. Her brother and spokesman Shlomi Pe'er told the Jerusalem Post that he had received assurances that a visa would be issued in the months leading up to the event and was only informed otherwise on Saturday night, two days before the tournament was due to start. The 21-year-old had even been included in the first round draw where she had been due to play Russian Anna Chakvetadze. Pe'er is currently in Thailand where she competed in the Pattaya Open last week, reaching the semifinals. She had planned to fly from Thailand to Dubai, but will now return to Israel on Sunday evening. Shlomi said he was informed of the decision by the tournament organizers who could not provide him with a reason for the visa denial. Last year Pe'er made history when she competed in the Qatar Open. Both Pe'er and the WTA are said to be extremely disappointed by the move by Dubai.

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