The Monday Slice: Tennis should be wary of the Middle East


The political furor over Shahar Peer's refused entry into Dubai could be pro tennis' last chance to get out of its doomed chase for the fool's gold of the Middle East.

For the past few years, tennis chiefs have swooned over the potential dollars in what was one of the world's fastest-growing regions.

Tournaments, both officially sanctioned events and exhibitions, have sprung up rapidly.

Talk of a Middle Eastern swing to the men's tour, and even the incorporation of an Asia-Pacific Grand Slam to replace the Australian Open, made Dubai seem a central location for tennis' future.

The decision of the United Arab Emirates government to exclude Israeli player Peer last week may just have given tennis a timely chance to rethink its involvement in the region.

It seems that everyone is fleeing Dubai these days. Thousands of foreign workers are moving away from the Gulf state as its economy sinks at an alarming rate.

All the grand plans that pinpointed Dubai as a hotspot for tourism and business for decades to come are in danger of being exposed as having little foundation.

The sooner tennis bosses realize that the Middle East is not the place to focus its financial attention, the better it will be for the sport.


Andy Murray's penchant for frugality is legendary on the ATP Tour. The world number four travels economy class and claims to prefer budget accommodation and a low-key approach. However, that all changed this week in Dubai.

Normally, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer are given ‘ultra first-class' suites at the lavish Burj al-Arab hotel, widely considered to be the most opulent hotel accommodation in the world.

The withdrawal of Nadal and Federer through injury has allowed Murray to live the high-rollers lifestyle for a week.


No Nadal and no Federer, but Dubai is still the place to be this week. Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray are the top two seeds in a wide-open event.


France's Virginie Razzano leapt from 58th to 41st on the WTA Tour rankings thanks to her dramatic run to the final in Dubai last week. Razzano upset Dinara Safina and Vera Zvonareva before losing to Venus Williams in the final and looks primed for a big season.


Copa Telmex, Buenos Aires: Tommy Robredo
Regions Morgan Keenan Championships: Andy Roddick
Open 13, Marseille: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
Barclays Tennis Championships, Dubai: Venus Williams
Cellular South Cup, Memphis: Victoria Azarenka
Copa Sony Ericsson Colsanitas, Bogota: Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez


Barclay Tennis Championships, Dubai: Novak Djokovic
International Tennis Championships, Delray Beach: Lleyton Hewitt
Abierto Mexicano Telcel, Acapulco: Nicolas Almagro
Abierto Mexicano Telcel, Acapulco: Venus Williams

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