The controversy surrounding the Israeli's invasion of Gaza is being felt in the tennis world as well.
Israeli baller Shahar Peer, who has extra security with her this week, was asked via correspondence by a New Zealand protest group, Peace and Justice Auckland, to withdraw from this week's ASB Classic as a comprehensive sports boycott of Israel. When no reply was received, the group said it would protest outside the venue on Thursday when Shahar was scheduled to play her quarterfinal match.
The 21-year old, whose brother is a military-reservist and was called up, responded by saying,
I have nothing to do with this. I'm Shahar Peer. I came here to play tennis. I know I'm from Israel and I'm proud of my country and that playing tennis is what I'm going to do tomorrow.Sports + politics is such a tricky combination. Some athletes confront these situations head-on while others choose to avoid political issues altogether. Ultimately, it's a personal decision whether to engage the discussions or not.
Two days ago, I was crying a bit, actually more than a bit, so it was a hard time for me. I hope as soon as possible it will end and we will all be happy, because no one wants to be in a war.
But in any case, it must be a tough situation for Shahar and I think she made the right decision to play on. She's in Auckland to play tennis, not to be political.
Let's hope she stays safe over there.
(image via AP)