Israeli Tennis Star Ready for Flushing Meadows
Became cause célèbre after ban from Dubai tournament earlier this year
Israeli tennis star Shahar Pe’er is makes her opening appearance at this year’s U.S. Open tomorrow, facing off against Hungarian player Agnes Szavay. Pe’er told Tablet Magazine in an email that she’s hoping to regain her footing after a season interrupted by political distractions.
Earlier this year, Pe’er found herself turned into a cause célèbre when she was denied a visa to play at a Barclays-sponsored tournament in Dubai just a couple of weeks after a cease-fire was declared in Gaza, allegedly over concerns for Pe’er’s own security. Venus Williams, who won the women’s side, publicly—though gently—criticized the tournament organizers for allowing Pe’er to be excluded, earning herself plaudits from the Anti-Defamation League, and American star Andy Roddick declined to defend his 2008 men’s title. “The Dubai issue was an important point in my life and career,” wrote Pe’er, who arrived in New York last week after being knocked out of the Rogers Cup in Toronto. “This incident has hurt me both personally and professionally—I was in a good run before Dubai and I was really looking forward to that tournament.” She said she wants to make sure that no other athlete from any other country ever has to face similar exclusion, but her more immediate concern is working her way back up from her current 63rd rank. “In past years—not last year—I did very well here, so good memories are something I love coming back to,” Pe’er said.
Meantime, she’s working overtime, appearing in an American Express-sponsored “rally experience” video game that fans can play on their cellphones. And she’s counting on the New York fans. “I always get a lot of support here from the crowd,” she said, “which I really love.”
Shahar Peer [U.S. Open Official Web Site]
Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180
WAIT, WHY DO I HAVE TO PAY TO COMMENT?
Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.
I NEED TO BE HEARD! BUT I DONT WANT TO PAY.
Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.
We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.