Andy Roddick will not be defending his Dubai title next week in protest of the UAE's actions against Shahar Peer.
The American, who reached the semifinals in Memphis by defeating compatriot Sam Querrey 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, had a brilliant week last season in Dubai defeating Rafael Nadal + Novak Djokovic on his way to the title. But he expressed disappointment with their decision saying,
There were a lot of factors why I should probably go, and obviously having played well there doesn’t make it any easier.A-Rod said he'll also be able to better prepare for the Davis Cup tie versus Switzerland taking place in Alabama by not traveling to Dubai.
I don’t think you make political statements through sports.
This move is pretty surprising especially from the defending champ of the tourney. And, it's great to see someone take a big stand in the middle of all that money, particularly someone from the ATP.
I wonder why some of the ladies didn't do the same?
UPDATE: The WTA has fined the Dubai tourney a record $300,000 (more than double the largest fine last levied) for their actions against Shahar. The monies will be divided between the Israeli ($42,250 plus 130 ranking points) and doubles partner Anna-Lena Groenefeld ($7,950) to compensate for the prize money they could've won. The balance will go to a charity chosen by Shahar and Tour's.
Additionally, the Tour "was requiring the organizers to post a $2 million performance guarantee -- something normally not required by established, financially sound events like the Dubai Tennis Championships."
And the following conditions must be met in order for Dubai to remain on the calendar for 2010:
- Confirmation of the written assurances already received that all players who qualify for the tournament shall, regardless of nationality, or any other reason, be allowed to play in the Dubai event and shall be issued entry visas or permits
- Proof of approved UAE entry permit to enter the UAE for any Israeli player a minimum of eight weeks prior to the start of the 2010 Dubai tournament
- Guarantee that Shahar shall be offered a wildcard to play the Dubai tournament in 2010 in the event that she does not qualify by ranking.
WTF? Please tell me this slap on the wrist (and slap in the face to Shahar) for one of the richest tourneys is not the end of the sanctions. TELL ME IT'S NOT THE END. This money is pocket change for them.
It's not enough. Based on WTA policy Dubai can, and should, be removed from the calendar for their actions. The damage has already been done. This is a joke and Larry Scott should be ashamed.
UPDATE #2: Dubai tourney Managing Director Colm McLoughlin says A-Rod has withdrawn due to a hernia. A-Rod rebuffs. I think he'd know about his own hernia Colm. Nice try though.
(image via Getty)