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.