Concrete Elbow by Steve Tignor - Cinderella Goes to Dubai
Home       About Steve Tignor       Contact        RSS        Follow on Twitter Categories       Archive
Cinderella Goes to Dubai 02/17/2010 - 1:23 PM

Sp A shorter version of this post appeared on yesterday.

Shahar Peer, with the winds of poetic justice firmly at her back, is on a run at the women's event in Dubai. Today the Israeli, who was denied a visa by the United Arab Emirates last year to play this tournament, advanced to the quarterfinals by upending No. 1 seed Caroline Wozniacki in straight sets.

This is storybook, headline-making stuff, but yesterday I wondered which was the more important of the news items coming out of Dubai: That Peer is playing and winning there, or that another, non-Israeli WTA player, Jelena Jankovic, has decided to move to the city and make it her home base.

It would be nice to say the former, of course. To have an athlete from Israel, whose diplomatic existence the UAE doesn’t recognize, competing in that country is a political victory that resonates far beyond the lines of a tennis court. But in many ways this victory wouldn’t have happened without a move like Jankovic’s. While the WTA and its former chief officer Larry Scott deserve credit for demanding that all of its players be guaranteed entry to the UAE this year, this wasn’t just a righteous triumph for freedom. It was also a triumph for the publicity machines of both Dubai and Doha, which have labored for years to show off the world’s top Western athletes—golfers, tennis players, racehorses—happily doing what they do best in their spectacular Middle Eastern cities, and receiving a king’s ransom to do it. The UAE, as well as Qatar, had invested too much in Roger Federer, Maria Sharapova, Andre Agassi, Tiger Woods, and the WTA’s Top 8, who play their year-end championships in Doha, to let it all be scuttled by l’affaire Peer. Certainly Dubai’s title sponsor, the British bank Barclays, doesn’t need any more bad publicity at the moment. Today it was announced that the company’s two top executives gave up their bonuses in 2009 as a “tactical move” to give the bank more “moral authority” in the future. I guess in an era when the popular nickname for Goldman Sachs is "vampire squid," a 92-percent increase in profits over a 12-month period, which Barclays just experienced, leaves you with a lot less moral authority.

Either way, Jankovic, a Serb who has always been based at the Bollettieri academy in Florida, says she’s joining the desert's star-athlete brigade. “I love so many things about this place,” she said of Dubai. “The people are good and the place is lovely as I can step out anytime and practice.” This echoes sentiments shared by Federer, who has trained in the city for years, on his website. “I really like the nice climate in Dubai,” he wrote. “It’s always sunny, making it the ideal location for holidays as well as practice. I like to go shopping and eating out in the great restaurants and hotels. Dubai is a true melting pot of nationalities.”

Sounds nice, doesn't it? A perfect spot for a vacation, and there are plenty of houses and condos available from what I've heard. Besides the appearance-fee and prize-money dollars—Dubai offers the sport’s most lavish player guarantees, while Doha hosts the richest women’s tennis tournament in history—local officials have also featured the pros in some of the more jaw-dropping photo-ops of recent years. Where else can you play tennis on a towering helipad or an indoor ski slope?

Peer’s tale is approximately half of a feel-good story. In the end, it won't matter how an Israeli got to play; it’s the result, the breakthrough, that will count. If it’s money and publicity that made it happen, so be it, it’s not the first time they’ve been the driving force behind social progress. But as we're celebrating that breakthrough and her good play, we can also note a not-so-subtle difference between Peer’s description of her experience in Dubai, and the glowing, travel-brochure descriptions of Jankovic and Federer. An Israeli newspaper reports that Peer’s hotel has sealed off her floor for security reasons, and that her movement has been restricted to the hotel and the tournament site. Her upset of Wozniacki took place on Court 1 rather than the center court, because the smaller venue was easier to lock down. Still, Peer says, “The attitude to me is very warm, and I feel quite safe.” 

Feeling "quite safe": I guess a true melting pot of nationalities has to start somewhere.


Posted by Slice-n-Dice 02/17/2010 at 01:48 PM

Nice to see money and status finally being used as a leverage for positive change.

Posted by Better At Singles 02/17/2010 at 01:53 PM

Yeah, of course Fed loves Dubai. They treat him like a king.

Posted by Madhatter 02/17/2010 at 02:38 PM

Don't forget that Novak & Kuznetsova have been training there during the last off-season. It is only a matter of time before Djokovic relocates himself (my opinion, of course).

Dubai happens to be a very convenient transport break between tour stops at both ends of the world for Europeans. Sometimes this is reason enough to make the decision for setting up camp.

Posted by rogeradal 02/17/2010 at 03:34 PM

the only player to "put money where his mouth is" last year was andy rodick, who skipped dubai because it didn't let peer play the tournament.
federer and the rest of the players are hypocripts. "melting pot of nationalities". thats right.
nor federer or anyone else stood up for a fellow player that didn't get the same rights. it's all about the money. thats all.

Posted by ilarum 02/17/2010 at 04:00 PM

check out this interesting blog

Posted by Internet Name 02/17/2010 at 04:17 PM

Am I the only one who thinks moving to Dubai is just another endorsement deal?

Posted by rookie 02/17/2010 at 04:23 PM

good writing steve.

the organizers must be banging their heads. they can't believe peer happens to play her best at their tournament. they counted on a first or second round loss.
but peer is telling them- look guys, if you want to look fair and hospitable to the world there is a price to pay, and i will make you pay. she is going to make this tournament her annual favorite. i want to see the prince and king hand her the trophy if she wins the whole thing. that will be some sight..

Posted by canadarocks 02/17/2010 at 04:34 PM

@ rogeradal

One word : naive

Roddick did it cause he played two back-to-back tournaments (San Jose and Memphis), he was tired and found the perfect excuse. Plus he was scheduled to play the Davis Cup, the week after Dubai, and then Indian Wells and Miami.

Posted by Or 02/17/2010 at 04:40 PM

It is an accomplishment, for sure.

To whom though? Israeli athletes in general? I doubt it.

It definitly isn't a feel-good story? I think the most prominent feeling for most Israelis, and maybe for Shahar too, is vindication (not sure if that's the right word) rather than a true good feeling, like you've bridged some sort of gap or been a part to something meaningful.

Shahar knows it only happened because Dubai was pressed to the wall, and because they had no choice. The only way we'd be able to see if there is a true understanding there that Shahar shouldn't be hurt due to her nationality, is when and if we 'll get to the award ceremony.

Should be facinating.

Posted by H. F. Goldstein 02/17/2010 at 04:47 PM

She is only allowed to travel from the hotel to the tennis center. It is not that great of a victory.

Posted by ks 02/17/2010 at 04:56 PM

Check this outstanding piece on Dubai.

Posted by Yet Another Lurker 02/17/2010 at 05:35 PM

I'm not sure what Jankovic and Federer's choice of base has to do with Shahar Peer being denied a visa. Are you saying that tennis players shouldn't live in places where you, Stephen Tignor, disagree with the policies of the local government? Or are you saying that Dubai is so uniquely vile that no athlete with any moral fibre would choose to live there for part of the year?

By the way, does the US have diplomatic relations with Cuba? Or Iran? Weren't Cuban baseball players initially denied visas to play in the US in the World Baseball Classic? Aren't Cuban scholars and artists routinely denied US visas?

Dubai has been rightly shamed into granting Shahar Peer a visa. Let's hope she goes on to win the tournament. Best, however, Mr Tignor, when grandstanding to look at one's own hypocrisy and prejudices. Your article is inane.

Posted by Gerry 02/17/2010 at 05:36 PM

Federer is to be commended for the work of his foundation in Africa, etc., but making his training base in Dubai is tacit support of a place that has a pretty poor record in its treatment of foreign workers and Jews. Granted, these players play tournaments in China, and probably other countries, with less than stellar standing in the international community. I'm sure that some would even include the US in that list for its invasion of Iraq, etc. So, where to draw the line? Is it asking too much of someone like Federer, who is clearly an intelligent and well-informed citizen of the world, to play in these places but say something in his press conferences regarding the country's human rights record and politics, similar to Arthur Ashe, but not set up camp there? He's obviously not just a guy who hits balls or he wouldn't be spending his time off in Ethiopia at the schools he supports, so I guess that I would expect more from him. I hate to say it, but the Swiss have a history of looking the other way.

Posted by Slice-n-Dice 02/17/2010 at 05:50 PM

ks, thank you for sharing that link. It is an amazing piece of journalism, and cuts right to the quick of why, instead of the UAE banning an Israeli player like Peer or Andy Ram, the players should boycott the event. It is a mirage. A travesty. A tragedy.

I urge everyone to click the link that ks offered above and read the entire piece. It is long, but well worth it. You will not likely see Dubai in the same light ever again.

Posted by Yet Another Lurker 02/17/2010 at 05:51 PM

Gerry, baffling post. I thought Dubai was pilloried for mixing politics and sports. But you think Federer should mix politics and sport. You then pile absurdity upon absurdity by linking Federer's choice of training base with Switzerland's historical neutrality.

I look forward to Roger Federer's new career of travelling the world to lecture countries, as specified on a list drawn up by Steve Tignor and Gerry, on their human rights records. Presumably, as righteous men, Steve and Gerry will be drafting Roger's condemnation of US human rights abuses as listed by Amnesty International (a longer list than Dubai's) prior to his first round match at Arthur Ashe.

Posted by Yet Another Lurker 02/17/2010 at 05:58 PM

Slice-n-Dice... so the players should do to Dubai what Dubai does to Israeli players? Choose to cut off diplomatic relations?

I lost my naivety about the way certain countries behave when I learned in high school how the US railway was built. Funnily enough, it involved imported labour, camps, unpaid wages and no rights.

Posted by Gerry 02/17/2010 at 05:59 PM

I too look forward to Federer speaking up about human rights. Athletes like Ashe and Muhammad Ali have used their position to make a big difference. I don't expect every athlete to do that, but when they have an international voice and something to say, it's a shame when they don't.

Posted by Yet Another Lurker 02/17/2010 at 06:06 PM

Gerry... can you spot the difference between Ashe, Ali, the stands they took and the moral authority they wielded, and Federer? Go on, it's not that hard.

Posted by ks 02/17/2010 at 06:11 PM

Slice, true it is a tragedy, but in the end, ti put it very bluntly, money talks.
Money also lures the work force there, but they get trapped. And some don't.

Posted by Slice-n-Dice 02/17/2010 at 06:16 PM

Yet Another Lurker, funny you should mention the US railway barons. As I read the piece on Dubai in The Independent, I was thinking of that very same thing.

And no, I am not here tpo ;ecture anybody about human rights abuses, alleged or otherwise. But I also believe that the main power we have as individuals is the power of the boycott. Remember the 1973 Wimbledon? About 80 players, including 12 of the 16 original seeds and the likes of Rod Laver and Ken Rosewall, boycotted the grandest of the slams in protest of the Yugoslavian government's suspension of fellow touring pro, Nikki Pilic, which the ILTF upheld, effectively making him ineligible to compete in the slams.

Posted by Slice-n-Dice 02/17/2010 at 06:25 PM

And that is the problem at the root of it all - the lure of money. When that lure turns out to be a trick, smoke and mirrors, then it becomes criminal. When the workers' passports are confiscated when they enter the country, it becomes criminal. When they are forced to endure unbearable heat and working conditions, even when sickened by those same conditions, because their only hope is to "earn" as much money as they can as fast as they can so that their debt does not continue to pile up and they can still hold onto the thin hope of paying it off so that they can return to their squallid conditions back home, where at least they were free - it is criminal.

This is servitude, slavery, no matter how you slice it. In fact, I'd go so far as to say it borders on human trafficking. These servants are lured by a false promise. They are lied to in order to be attracted. That is not much different than offering a young teen a life of convenience and riches if she will leave home and leave the country, only to find that she is trapped in a life of prostitution. In principle, I see no difference.

Someone please explain to me how it is different, in principle.

Posted by Yet Another Lurker 02/17/2010 at 06:29 PM

Slice... but what is the need to boycott Dubai? When the tournament first denied Peer a visa, Venus Williams spoke out at the trophy ceremony and eventually the WTA was shamed into coming down hard on Dubai. The result is that Peer is in the quarterfinals this year. Incidentally, Andy Ram was granted a visa at the men's tournament that year after the fuss caused over Peer's denial. Roddick boycotted and Federer and Nadal weren't playing anyway.

Israeli players are now allowed to play in the tournament now. So, again, why boycott? If you're suggesting a boycott based on Dubai's human rights record, that is a different matter entirely. And then the question must be asked, is Dubai the worst human rights offender currently hosting tennis tournaments. And, if not, then why single out Dubai?

Posted by Yet Another Lurker 02/17/2010 at 06:41 PM

Slice... you're right... it is human trafficking... it is slavery... it is disgusting.

Posted by Slice-n-Dice 02/17/2010 at 06:41 PM

Yet Another Lurker,

No, you're right about the current situation. Roddick stayed away, Venus spoke out, the WTA imposed its rules and all is right (at least officially so). And I'm not being facetious or ironic, here. So I should have been more clear that I was disappointed that the players did not unite behind Peer last year and boycott. I would have loved to have seen the WTA issue try to impose their fines had the players carried out such an act of defiance.

Going forward, the best we can really hope is that Peer continues her run, makes the final where she will come face to face with the Emirati, so the world can judge for themselves whether a change of heart has really occurred or whether money has talked again.

As for Fderer and others being lured to this so-called paradise as a training ground and home away from home, I cannot judge them, even though I will confess to being disappointed. Surely there are equally temperate places to train and to live. But so long as the world of professional sport is driven forward (or perhaps, sustained would be the more acurate term) by those with open purses, then we will have to put up with sponsors whom we'd rather not acknowledge.

Posted by Ozone 02/17/2010 at 07:05 PM

Yes, there are many bad things about Dubai, I agree.

What I am going to say is not going to justify it, but do you guys realize that, the entire western civilization - Rome, Great Britain and now the USA is all built on slavery and exploitation of everybody else?

- Rome and its slavery is very well known.
- GB and its colonies and how they sucked stuff out of all these 3rd world places, I am sure everybody knows. Even other European countries had colonies to get outside wealth from and people for cheap labor. Do you guys know of how many chinese, Pakistani and Indians work in UK even now.
- And for the grand daddy of them all - the US and their black slavery, now mexicans, filippinos etc etc. Not to mention the exploitation of all the other 3rd world countries (try reading John Perkins "Confessions of an economic hitman" even if you think it is all conspiracy theories)...and who do you got all the contracts to build Do-buy?

I have a lot of respect for SteveT and people like slice-n-dice (based on his posts), much more than the writing style of Mr. Bodo (he would have made this a lot more vitriolic, and spiteful, but he would have also gotten 1000+ comments by now :-)), but I want to just point out that the Western world has its goodies today, to a good extent by stepping on all these poor people as well.

I do admire the amends that some parts (and people) of the western world try to make, to give back.


Posted by Yet Another Lurker 02/17/2010 at 07:08 PM

Slice... yes, I'm hoping Peer reaches the final. The irony would be wonderful and she would rub the authorities' noses in it. As for Federer choosing to live and train in Dubai. It is disappointing, only because Dubai is such a ludicrous sham. Las Vegas in the Arabian Gulf. Steve corrals Doha into the rather lame argument he makes above but at least Doha, home of Al Jazeera, is trying to be culturally relevant. I guess Federer doesn't choose places to train because they're interesting but because they offer him the most congenial training environment. I don't blame him. He's a tennis player.

As for sport and open purses... if you're American, I'm amused you're so appalled by the serpent's lure of hype and money. Dubai is a grubby little place. But the world is grubby and I'm afraid I don't share Steve Tignor's capacity for selective outrage.

Posted by Slice-n-Dice 02/17/2010 at 07:22 PM


Oh, there is no question that you are correect in your assessment of how one after another western nation obtained its wealth and status. No question. It is one of the more interesting topics of discussion I have with my 9-year-old son, whose 4th grade class has recently completed a 3-month-long focus of study on the Civil War. He is much more prepared to delve the depths of human depravity and the rationale for it than I was, even by the 7th grade.

And I appreciate you kind remarks. ;-)

Posted by Slice-n-Dice 02/17/2010 at 07:33 PM

Yet Another Lurker,

May I borrow one of your lines here and say that I have lost my naivete? But this is also why I do not generally watch major sporting events. the spectacle that veils the reality is too much for me to take. I watch tennis because I love the game, and alsways have, and because I've been lucky to luve in times when there were alwsya t least a handful of players who played magnificently and comported themselves admirably, regardless of who they chose to bed down with -- Federer, Sampras, Graf, Edberg, Lendl, Borg, Navratilova, Evert, Goolagong, King, Ashe, Laver, Court. I use "chose to bed down with" figuratively, of course.

Posted by Yet Another Lurker 02/17/2010 at 07:40 PM

Slice... on that we can happily agree... I too love tennis and have played it a reasonable level... I don't care where Federer lives... just that he's the most wonderful player I've seen play this sport, and that includes Sampras, a player I admire hugely...

Posted by Slice-n-Dice 02/17/2010 at 07:46 PM

[Raising a mug of beer to Yet Another Lurker]... Cheers!

Posted by wilson75 02/17/2010 at 08:03 PM

Those who are praising Roddick for pulling out of Dubai last year, i hope you know that according to the ATP website on the tournament page for Dubai Roddick is listed to play this year.

Posted by Slice-n-Dice 02/17/2010 at 08:12 PM


Sure, but Dubai has agreed to honor their commitments to the WTA and ATP, so there should be no grounds (technically speaking) for Roddick not to play. He still has concerns about his shoulder, though, so I wouldn't be surprised if he pulled out to save it for IW and Miami.

BTW, has anyone else noticed that the ATP schedule lists the prize money for the Aegon Championships, a grass-court run-up to Wimbledon, as $7,139,500? Nearly $2,000,000 more than Roland Garros or Wimbledon? What's up with that?!

Posted by wilson75 02/17/2010 at 08:28 PM

Slice-n-Dice: That's because Dubai was worried to lose money and suffer further fallout. It has promoted itself as a perfect place for a number of sporting events and would stand to lose alot of money if they didn't change its position on allowing Jewish athletes into the country. Not because they now love jews. On principle, I think Roddick should still stay away or is that only tennis players are important.

Posted by Slice-n-Dice 02/17/2010 at 09:06 PM


I think if you go back to my very first comment, you'll see that I was pretty clear that it was the money and status (that was in jeopardy should they fail to mopen their draws to ALL eligible WTA and ATP players) that talked, and that in my opinion it's a good thing when money and status can be used for good.

Now, we could debate all day whether in fact it is a good thing for the players to agree to ply their trade in such an environment. You can read the comments of several others above for a reasonable approach to this kind of debate. I'm not sure it would be fruitful, to be honest.

Posted by Slice-n-Dice 02/17/2010 at 09:13 PM

And just for the record, I have no tolerance for anti-semitic attitudes, and think that those Arab leaders who oppose the nationhood of Israel are insane. I say this because I don't believe one needs to oppose Israel's right to exist (as a nation with distinct boundaries) in order to support the establishment of a Palestinian state in the same region. I also don't think you need to agree with how Israel was originally brought into being in 1948 in order to be able to accept their statehood and right to exist, again, in a region dominated by people of Arabic origin.

Oh, I think I'm going to give myself a headache. Sorry, I hadn't intended to go there, but thought I'd head the discussion (and questions) off before it and they began.

Posted by MikeDC 02/17/2010 at 09:38 PM

Reading these posts reminds me of Venus' brief comments at the 2009 trophy ceremony. I'm not normally one of the "Venus is a goddess" boosters out there, but she deserves major props for saying what she did in that setting. I can't imagine anyone else daring to pull it off, and doing it so well. Underrated moment of 09 methinks.

Posted by Or 02/17/2010 at 11:42 PM

Mike DC - totally agree. YOu needed someone with a certain clout, experienence, age and Hutzpa to pull it off. it could have only been a Williams sister.

WTA told the organizers to put Shahar on CC, Organizers said no. However, they will broadcast the match.

Posted by ncot 02/18/2010 at 12:49 AM

i don't know what to make of this article. it felt like steve wanted to say something negative but hesitated. or that he wanted to say something positive but didn't really believe. either way, not one of his best works. i'm thinking maybe steve didn't have enough time to ponder over his thoughts. just an opinion.

Posted by girl power 02/18/2010 at 07:02 AM

peer won.. how about that? she beat wickamayer, arrani, wozniaki and li na.
maybe playing for peace gives some extra energy.
definitley a feel good story.

Posted by sam i am 02/18/2010 at 08:18 AM

Just two weeks ago, the Israeli Mosad (intelligence agency) committed an elaborate assassination in Dubai which the whole world is now talking about. That Dubai is letting an Israeli sportswoman enter its borders just two weeks after to compete (and possible win by the looks of it) is very, very shameful to Dubai.
But I don't see that side of things in the original article, nor in any of the posts. I wonder why.
There's a limit to how separable sports can be from the day-to-day happenings.

Posted by sam i am 02/18/2010 at 08:19 AM

girl power - playing for peace? that's taking it way too far, in my opinion.

Posted by Yet Another Lurker 02/18/2010 at 08:55 AM

sam i am... is it necessary to link Shahar Peer to the killing? Surely, she has a right to play tennis in a private capacity (and as far as I'm aware she's representing Shahar Peer, not Israel).

I do, however, think that Steve wrote an article replete with casual prejudice and with almost no thought. And I agree with you that girl power's comment is foolish.

Posted by Liz 02/18/2010 at 09:18 AM

I am another lurker -- what is one step beyond "yet another lurker?" I just wanted to ask sam i am how far we should take banning an athlete because of the actions of her or his government. What about Chinese tennis players, for their government's human rights record? Or Russian players, for their government's crackdown on dissidents and suppression of ethnic minorities? Or US players, for the war in Afghanistan and Iraq? I think there is a difference between a boycott such as the one against South Africa, which was sanctioned by the UN, and just deciding on the spur of the moment that Shahar Peer can't play because her government's intelligence agency may have assassinated a Hamas millitary commander.

Anyway, Shahar is one tough cookie. It can't be easy to have all that attention and animosity piled on top of you when you're trying to win a tournament.

Posted by Reabirth 02/18/2010 at 11:53 AM

The UAE have denied Sahar Peer a visa as a sign of protest to the massacre in Gaza, so why shouldn't they forbid Israel any international competitons as they did with south africa ?

Posted by Or 02/18/2010 at 12:51 PM

RealBirth - that's not what the UAE said last year, they cited security concerns.

Posted by Yet Another Lurker 02/18/2010 at 01:04 PM

Also... it's not Fed Cup... Shahar Peer does not represent Israel on the WTA tour... if the UAE cited political differences in any international competition and withdrew from a match against Israel, as India did in Davis Cup in 1974 against South Africa, that would be unfortunate but understandable. Denying Peer a visa is pettiness, not principle.

Posted by kjo 02/18/2010 at 02:23 PM

The point is it's not up to the UAE to decide which players they "let" play the tournament. According to the WTA rules, every player who is eligible must be allowed to play at any WTA event.
If organizers want an event to be "by invitation only" then it has to be an exhibition, not a tour event that awards ranking points.

Posted by Slice-n-Dice 02/18/2010 at 03:40 PM

Ed Zachary, kjo. And that pretty much puts an end to that inane debate. Thank you ;-)

Posted by girl power 02/18/2010 at 04:26 PM

yes, playing for peace- because when a country doesn't want to let you enter a sports event because of your nationality, and when you are restricted to your hotel floor for security reasons, when you are surounded by hate and ignorance- just participating, being there and playing means supporting human brotherhood and not succumbing to hate. when people interact and are not distant or estranged then humanity is promoted.
therefore i think she is playing for peace. peace between people. and sport can be a great bridge for that. she could say- too dangerous, a hastle, i am not playing. if they don't want me there, i am not going. but she went. and maybe dubai people will see that she is just a human being- like they are. maybe i am naive, you may say i am a dreamer, but i am not the only one. peer is brave to be there, in unhospitable territory. have you ever been in a country where you are considered an enemy, unwanted? now try playing tennis.. she is playing for sports over poitics, hunity over division, humanity over policies

Posted by Legoboy 02/18/2010 at 05:27 PM

Girl Power, as much as I agree Shahar may feel that way inside, she better not say anything till she's standing on the podium a winner. It would go against EVERYTHING she faught for last year. She just wanted to compete, and play tennis. This year, as it should have been last, She is given the chance.
Sports and Politics (on the court at least) should not be minced.

and Sam I am.....Very shameful to Dubai?
Think about that, and shame on you for even disgracing this posting with that garbage. Lets punish all the citizens of a nation because of a military action. Sounds really productive. It almost sounds like the treatment anyone with an Arab name gets trying to enter Canada or the USA for that matter. Unacceptable for them, and certainly unacceptable if the UAE did it as well.
I'm glad (even if it was only driven by money) that the UAE upheld it's promise, and I hope Peer wins, if only in spite.
Diversity brings strength, and she deserves it!

Posted by girl power 02/18/2010 at 06:01 PM


peer just wants to play tennis. i am the one giving idealistic meanings to her participation. sometimes small private acts become symols for things larger then themselves.

Posted by Slice-n-Dice 02/18/2010 at 06:25 PM

No question, girl power. It often takes a few small individual acts of courage to make a huge societal difference. Now, I am not naive, however, so I don't expect the Dubai Emirati to embrace her should she win their tournament. But there are moderates everywhere, even in the most dogmatic or politically motivated nations. And her actions will speak volumes to them. I also, to echo legoboy, don't believe for an instance that Peer's entry form was accepted for any reason other than the pressure that the WTA brought to bear. Money talked, and in this case (to reiterate the gist of my very first comment) it was for good.

Posted by Syd 02/18/2010 at 07:02 PM

Steve, go back to your column called "Bias."

Read your declaration: "Fair and Balanced." also look at the word there, um, it's called "journalism."

Now: Rewrite this column.

Posted by Yet Another Lurker 02/18/2010 at 08:01 PM

girl power... let's say Peer wins... and I for one hope she does... what does her victory become a symbol for? That an athlete can win in adversity? That countries shouldn't mix politics with sport? How is it a victory for humanity? Will the government in the UAE now grant a visa to any Israeli who wants to visit? Will Israel now set up fewer check points? The problem with the UAE's decision not to grant Peer a visa was that she was not treated as an individual tennis player but as an Israeli. In tennis, outside of Davis and Fed Cup, you play for yourself not your country. Now you want her victory to represent not just her own triumph over adversity but a triumph for humanity. Overblown and illogical.

You say people in Dubai will maybe now see her as a human being. How do you know they don't? Just because their government refused her a visa? People, perhaps you included, are outraged that Peer should be judged by the actions of her government, maybe you could extend the same courtesy to the spectators in Dubai.

Posted by al-amin 02/18/2010 at 09:37 PM

when israilies are using face passport of ( Britain) to get in to Dubai and kill some one. Then UAE have every right to deny the visa to S. Peers

Posted by Slice-n-Dice 02/18/2010 at 11:09 PM

al-amin, please explain by what twist of logic you arrived at that conclusion.
Are you suggesting that Miss Peer is acting on behalf of the Israeli government or military and intends to do harm? Do you have any evidence to support this or any other tenuous belief? I'd really like to hear your reasoning, step by step.

Posted by Or 02/18/2010 at 11:56 PM

A) No confirmation whether it was the Mossad or not.

B) Shahar Peer has nothing to do with it.

C) If it was the Palestinian authority assasinating someone from Hammas (nothing that hasn't happened before), would that be the end of Palestinian visit to Dubai? I doubt it.

Posted by sam i am 02/19/2010 at 03:22 AM

Legoboy -
Perhaps you're forgetting, or don't know, but Shahar Peer, as is most of the non-Arab population living inside Israel, served in the army for 2 years (at least). So saying she is just an Israeli citizen is unacceptable.

Posted by Eoin 02/19/2010 at 04:46 AM


I don't see how you can say that Peer's participation this year represents a political victory. As another poster has noted, she is representing herself and not her country.

Posted by Slice-n-Dice 02/19/2010 at 07:46 AM

sam i am,

Israel, as do other nations such as Turkey and Sweden, imposes mandatory military service on its citizens. It's not a volunteer army.

Posted by Babe 02/19/2010 at 09:12 AM

Yet Another Lurker 02/17/2010 at 05:51 PM: ICAM!

"I look forward to Roger Federer's new career of travelling the world to lecture countries, as specified on a list drawn up by Steve Tignor and Gerry, on their human rights records. Presumably, as righteous men, Steve and Gerry will be drafting Roger's condemnation of US human rights abuses as listed by Amnesty International (a longer list than Dubai's) prior to his first round match at Arthur Ashe."

Priceless; LOL! I look forward to it too.

Posted by Babe 02/19/2010 at 09:17 AM

"Roddick stayed away"

He stayed away but his stance was not as grand as it is being made to be, because it was not in his best interest to play Dubai anyway. The more likely scenario is that the situation gave him a prime opportunity to back out of his commitment.

I will give him props for using that opportunity to at least make a condemning comment of the denial of a visa to Peer.

Posted by ilarum 02/19/2010 at 09:43 AM

check out this interesting blog

Posted by Yet Another Lurker 02/19/2010 at 10:01 AM

Babe... cheers... but why so cynical about Roddick? Surely he's not that calculating.

Posted by Jay 02/19/2010 at 12:52 PM

Its unfortunate that individual players are seen to represent their government's policies, whether they are in agreement with their government, or not. Peer's visa problem last year was not aimed at her directly, but, was linked to the fact that her country does not have diplomatic relations with Dubai, or with much of the Arab world. These restrictions apply to everyone--there are countries where Americans cannot travel for the same reason. This is not new, either.

Arthur Ashe was once denied a visa to play in South Africa, which ultimately led to his success in getting many internation corporations and sports teams to boycott South Africa, while apartheid was that country's policy.

On a personal note, when traveling to the Middle East for the first time, I was told that I would be denied entry into certain Arab countries, if I let Israeli customs/immigration stamp my passport. On the other hand, I was given much grief by Israeli airline and customs security because I had visas (I wanted to travel to historical sites throughout the region) from a couple of Arab states on my passport.

I don't know why some individuals choose tennis tournaments (the Aussie Open, for example) to vent their political griefs, but I hope that the trend does not spread! Whats the point of having tournaments, when most of the local fans have to be excluded for fear of political violence? Davis Cup with no spectators? Come on.

Posted by coach handbags 05/12/2010 at 11:44 PM

Wonderful, it is so nice for me to stand at such a great blog of my life, i am really glad to leave my comment here in very decent topic, thank you!

Posted by rossignol axium ski 11/12/2010 at 06:22 PM

To start earning money with your blog, initially use Google Adsense but gradually as your traffic increases, keep adding more and more money making programs to your site.

Posted by Volkl ac40 skis 11/13/2010 at 04:55 PM

gr8 resrch bro�

Posted by office 2010 05/04/2011 at 09:48 PM

good thank like your "explosive" analogy, I use it in my business as well. Thanks for the great contentasrdg.

We are no longer accepting comments for this entry.

<<  The Joys of Victory Glimpsing Flavia  >>

A Little Less Life and Death
Playing Ball: Good Luck to a Partner
Playing Ball: Losing Them All
Keeping Tabs: August 8
Quick-Change Artists
Hard Landing
Part of the Action
This blog has 1484 entries and 99627 comments.
More Video
Daily Spin