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Shahar Pe’er refuses to shake opponent’s hand after match

shahar-peerShahar Pe’er won the Israel Open this week, but she faced a tense situation on her way.

Pe’er defeated Deniz Khazaniuk in the semifinals 6-1, 6-0, but she refused to shake her opponent’s hand after the match.

Haaretz reports that Pe’er told Khazaniuk, “You’re an embarrassment to the State of Israel.” They say she also made a sign to Khazaniuk to be quiet.

Pe’er’s hard feelings toward Khazaniuk reportedly are the result of negative comments Khazaniuk made about Pe’er and her other Fed Cup teammates in an interview with Maariv earlier this year.

“She’s one big fake,” Khazaniuk said of Pe’er following Israel’s Fed Cup loss to to Portugal.

“They only belittled me and criticized me all the time,” she said of her teammates. “They humiliated me. That is not the way a national team should be handled. It’s the way you do things in the neighborhood.”

Khazaniuk found the coach and team leadership to be disorganized and lack proper planning. She also told the newspaper she felt like the veteran players treated her like a servant. She specifically accused Pe’er of not having very professional behavior, saying Pe’er would stay up late and go out late before matches. Khazaniuk felt that was part of the reason Pe’er was slipping in the world rankings.

If what Khazaniuk says is true, then it’s no surprise why she felt the need to speak out. Pe’er is a really good player, but it sounds like she needs to treat her teammates better and be more responsible and professional as a player. Hopefully Khazaniuk’s criticism of her sparked a fire. Pe’er had slipped in the rankings from No. 11 to No. 74.

via Sports by Brooks Live

Venus, Serena Dropped the Ball with Shahar Pe’er in Dubai

Earlier this week the Barclays Dubai WTA tournament didn’t let Israeli player Shahar Pe’er play in the tournament. Specifically the United Arab Emirates did not allow her a visa into the country citing security issues because she’s Jewish. The WTA considered canceling the tournament but determined it wouldn’t be fair to all the other players who had already arrived in Dubai and were prepared to play. They also threatened not to return to Dubai next year. Since then, the UAE has said they will grant a visa to Andy Ram, an Israeli male, so he can participate in the men’s tournament next week. I’m particularly perturbed that more tennis players didn’t stand up for Pe’er and threaten to boycott the tournament for their blatantly discriminatory practice. I’m also upset with Venus Williams and Serena Williams for not stepping up when the opportunity presented itself. Here was Venus’ reasoning:

“I have to look at the bigger picture. The big picture is that Shahar Peer didn’t get a chance to play, but making an immediate decision we also have to look at sponsors, fans and everyone who has invested a lot in the tournament.

There are so many other people involved. Sponsors are important to us,” Williams said. “We wouldn’t be here without sponsors and we can’t let them down. Whatever we do, we need to do as a team – players, sponsors, tour and whoever – and not all break off in one direction. We are team players.”

What disappoints me is that in a time when Venus had a chance to step up and make a statement against what she knows is wrong, she decided to recite the company line and cite economical reasons. The reason I single out the Williams sisters is because they are two of the biggest names on the tour and because they have experienced racial discrimination in their lives. If anyone would know how badly Pe’er feels and how important it is to speak up at a time like this, I would think it would be them. Moreover, from what I could tell, they were the only American women (and certainly by far the most prominent if there were others) in the tournament, representing a country that stands for equal rights and democracy. If ever there was a time to take a stand, this was it. It’s a shame that they and the other women didn’t speak up.