Sports Outside the Beltway

Israeli Andy Ram allow to play in Dubai

Less than a week after denying Shahar Peer a visa, the UAE reverses course for one of her countrymen.

Israeli tennis player Andy Ram will be allowed to play in a premier Dubai tennis tournament after the Arab country said it would permit the No. 7-ranked doubles player to enter the country.

The Persian Gulf country banned Israeli women’s tennis star Shahar Peer earlier this week from entering the UAE to participate in the lucrative Dubai Tennis Championships. Organizers said they feared fan anger over Israel’s recent military offensive in the Gaza Strip would spill into riots in the Arab country if Peer were to play.

After Peer was barred, the tennis world harshly criticized the UAE for its ban of Israelis, and top past and present women players also came to Peer’s defense, including Billie Jean King.

Tennis governing officials warned that future tennis events in Dubai could be in doubt if the Emirates, which does not have diplomatic relations with Israel, continued to ban Israelis. And the ATP, which runs the men’s tournament, gave the Emirates a Friday evening deadline to decide whether to grant Ram a visa.

ATP president Adam Helfant described the Emirates’ decision at the “right” one.

Do I proofread for ESPN by any chance? I make typos like ‘at the right one’ rather than ‘as the right one’ and nobody is paying me to right this stuff.

Back to tennis. The UAE made the right decision for Ram, but it doesn’t let them off the hook so far as what they did to Peer. It’s too late to correct it, because the women’s tennis event is underway as I write this. There should be some form of punishment for what was done, but I’m still skeptical anything will happen worse than a wrist slap.

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