Politics & Injuries

Feb 17, 2009

Two very different stories have dominated the tennis headlines this week, with politics and injuries being their main focus.

Israeli Player Discriminated Against

The biggest story of the week was the decision made by the government of the United Arab Emirates to deny a visa to Israeli tennis player Shahar Peer, preventing her from playing in the WTA event in Dubai.

Initially this decision was met was disgust from all quarters – players, foregn officials and tennis fans, with the general consensus being that sport should be separated from politics. The Tennis Channel has gone so far as to make a decision not to air the event in supprt of the Israeli player.

But there are always two sides to every story, and the initial outrage masked the fact that the government in question had not fully explained their decision. They did so in the last few hours, and their statement potentially makes you reconsider their motives for taking such a stance.

It is their contention that a number of factors were considered including fears of public dissent, and a concern for the well-being of the player in question. This then changes the focus of the matter from one of politics and sport, to a more safety based dilemma.

If this is the case (i.e if the statement is true, and not just media spin), perhaps some consultation with the Israeli player, and the WTA should have occurred. The men’s event is being held next week and there is an Israeli player again seeking entry, so it will be interesting to see how that situation is handled now that tennis authorities are aware of the stance being taken by the UAE.

There are a number of other high profile sporting events held every year in Dubai, so they need to be careful about how they move forward on this issue. The main thing that would probably save them from a harsh backlash by the governing bodies of the sports involved is the fact that they are so wealthy…and money talks.

Old Man Nadal

The other major talking point of the week were those dodgy knees of Nadal. At a set all against Andy Murray in the final of the tour event in Rotterdam, Nadal’s knee gave up on him and Murray romped home in the final set 6-0.

When you consider that Nadal is only 22, there are grave doubts about the potential longevity of his career. He has the knees of a man twice his age, and his particular style of play is not going to make things any easier for him down the track.

What we may see relatively early on in his career is a move towards a very managed campaign focused on the majors, and a few select tournaments. The thing is this would go against absolutely everything he stands for as a player, and his pride may prevent him from taking this route as early on as he perhaps should.

I think every tennis fan would love to see Nadal maintain a high level of play for many years to come, so hopefully there is a forceful presence somewhere in the Nadal camp who commands enough respect from Nadal that they can swing him around to the idea of a more managed workload. Potentially it could make the difference between him finishing in front or behind Federer in the total number of major’s won.

Written by: Crooksy

Add Your Comments

You must Sign In to post a comment.

« Back