It's going to be an interesting week at the tennis. I'm not referring to the game itself, the thrill of which has always, like that of golf, eluded me, but to the shenanigans around the Dubai Duty Free Open Championships tournament.
For a start we're going to be seeing how you resolve the interesting question of why the Women's Tennis Association is fining the organisers because the host country denied a visa to an Israeli player in accordance with that host country's practice over the past 30 years.
The United Arab Emirates joined the Arab League's Arab Boycott of Israel, has no diplomatic relations with Israel and it was always been clear that not only would an Israeli citizen be denied a visa, but entrance could be complicated and even denied on possession of an Israeli stamp in your passport. So quite what made the WTA think this would be ‘sorted’ without some pretty special handling is anyone’s guess.
Then there’s the even more interesting question of this week’s Israeli, doubles player Ram, whose visa has been granted. That left the spokesperson for the organisers sounding perhaps a little wobbly in today's Gulf News (640g), which reports:
Tournament director Salah Tahlak denied that any errors of judgement had been made, as claimed by a section of the players and the media. Commenting on his statement on Tuesday that Peer's visa had been denied for security reasons, he said: "Whatever reason was given last week, we had our reasons. Maybe then it was still fresh what happened in Gaza and we made that very clear in the statement.