Venus Williams, who is a leading member of the Players Council and a leader on the issue of equal prize money in tennis, continued her role as the elder stateswoman of the game and was asked to speak about the Dubai controversy and the Council's next steps to deal with the fallout.
On the importance of the meeting scheduled to take place next month at Indian Wells (where, ironically, the Williams sisters have boycotted for years):
We have been successful in the past with many things. This is a large tournament, with unprecedented prize money this year, and equal prize money (with the men) and all kinds of wonderful things. But of course we know how to work on it. Of course we don't jump to any conclusions. We feel like communication is the important thing and we know how to do that. That's what we need - good communication so we stay involved.On the why there wasn't a baller boycott to support Shahar:
There are so many other people involved. Sponsors are important to us. We wouldn't be here without sponsors. We can't let sponsors 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.On her personal reaction to the events:
I know she's previously played in the Middle East, in Doha, so it was my understanding she would have the opportunity to play here also, despite legislative issues. Obviously I am disappointed she hasn't had a chance to do this because she's a good person and works just as hard as anyone else om the tour, and should have the opportunity to play.On Andy Ram, who the UAE confirmed today will receive a visa:
She shouldn't be denied, it's not right, she's just a person. We are all people, no matter where we are from.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.
We are all going to consider what are options are for next year - but (this year) we didn't even know till Saturday (that Peer had been denied a visa). I think there are rules and protocols as to how you can proceed.
I can't comment on what might happen, but hopefully it will be something different. I hope the message would be that second time around that they have an opportunity to be all inclusive.Well, it's always good to hear a baller speak up instead of the tennis officials who always seem, and many time are, out of touch with what is happening on the ground.
But V confirmed what we all knew: you can't just walk because money does talk. Let's hope they do right by Shahar, though, and sanction the tourney in a big way for breaking WTA policy. Wishful thinking, I know.
(image via Getty)