shahar peer 224.88.
(photo credit: AP [file])
No one is expecting Shahar Pe'er and Tzipi Obziler to make a massive impression on the Olympics tennis doubles tournament, but coach Lior Mor was in a confident mood on the flight to China.
Mor, who was selected to coach Pe'er and Obziler in Beijing after guiding them many times in the past in Fed Cup action, said he believes that the nature of the doubles event gives the Israelis a chance of claiming a medal.
"There are many surprises in doubles tournaments and especially in women's doubles. Shahar and Tzipi have played together in the past and know each other well. On their day, Pe'er and Obziler can beat any doubles team in the world," the 32-year-old Mor told The Jerusalem Post.
"There are only 32 teams in the event, so with four wins you win a medal. We do, however, need to take it one day at a time because there's a long way to go until you play for a place on the podium."
One distinct disadvantage the Israeli duo will have to overcome is the fact that they rarely play doubles together.
In Pe'er's recent tournaments Obziler couldn't team-up with her because of a poor doubles ranking and, despite always playing together in the Fed Cup, the players have joined forces for Israel just four times in the last two years.
To make matters worse, training together has also proven difficult.
"The truth is that we haven't had much of a chance to practice doubles with Shahar and Tzipi. Pe'er has come straight from a singles event and we wanted to first make sure she's in good form before we started playing doubles," Mor said.
"We will spend a lot of time in the coming days on preparing the duo for the doubles tournament and also getting Pe'er ready for her singles matches."
Mor claimed, nevertheless, that the little experience Pe'er and Obziler do have could make the difference.
"It's very significant that they have experience playing doubles together. The feeling that you know your doubles partner is crucial," he said.
Pe'er has struggled on the WTA tour recently, suffering humbling losses to inferiorly ranked players in her last two events. Mor said he believes, however, that playing at the Games could do Israel's No. 1 a world of good.
"I think that being at the Olympics and having the delegation and the entire country behind her will help Pe'er," he said. "The fact that she's struggled in recent weeks will take some pressure off her and will also lower the expectations.
"If she can bring to the tournament the form that I've seen in training in the last couple of days than she'll be alright."
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