Shahar Peer won't be allowed to compete in Dubai next week.
The United Arab Emirates have declined the Israeli lady baller's request for a visa which would have made her the first person from her country to compete in the UAE.
However WTA policy states "no player should be barred from competing in a tournament for which she has qualified" and Dubai could therefore lose its membership to the Tour next year.
WTA CEO Larry Scott released the following statement:
We are deeply disappointed by the decision of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) denying Shahar Peer a visa that would permit her to enter the country to play in the Dubai Tennis Championships.Shahar and her family have been in Thailand where she was competing in Pattaya City and upon hearing of the decision were described by Scott as "extremely upset and disappointed" about the news.
Ms. Peer has earned the right to play in the tournament and it is regrettable that the UAE is denying her this right.
Following various consultations, the Tour has decided to allow the tournament to continue to be played this week, pending further review by the Tour's Board of Directors.
Earlier this year, the 21-year old was subject to protests in Auckland following her country's invasion of Gaza and last February became the first person from her country to compete at a tourney in one of the Persian Gulf states.
I find the decision by the UAE to be completely unfair from a sporting perspective and extremely unprofessional as a member of the WTA Tour. It most certainly violates the policy of allowing a lady baller to compete in a tourney she qualifies for and they should therefore deal with whatever consequences are attributed.
Moreover, after all of the monies the WTA Tour has funneled into extending their reach into this area of the world and building a tennis tradition, the organization must be gravely disappointed.
But these purely money-making moves usually have unfortunate consequences and the WTA executives may now need to rework this strategy.
(image via Getty)