Ram: ATP must take charge
Israeli speaks out as he awaits news of whether he can compete in Dubai.
Last Modified: 18 Feb 2009 11:04 GMT

Andy Ram is waiting to hear about his visa application [EPA]
The governing bodies of tennis should cancel or impose fines on tournaments if players are barred from competing in them, Israeli doubles specialist Andy Ram said on Tuesday.

Ram's compatriot Shahar Peer was denied an entry visa into the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which has no diplomatic links with Israel, at the weekend and hence was unable to participate in this week's women's Dubai Championships.

"Cancelling the tournament is the last thing Shahar, the WTA or the ATP or anybody else wants," Ram, who has applied for a visa to play in next week's men's tournament in Dubai, told the BBC.

"On the other hand, it's one of the biggest tournaments on the calendar, so obviously they have to find a way to let the Israelis play there.

"I don't know what should be done... maybe cancelling the tournament or sanction them with money or any other thing.

"But something should be done to make sure it's not going to happen next year.

"The people in charge of the tour - the WTA and the ATP - have to take responsibility."

ATP cautious

The ATP said it would review the status of the men's event in Dubai once Ram, who is competing in Marseille, France, this week is notified about his visa.

"We are still waiting for an official decision on Andy Ram's visa application," an ATP spokesman said.

"Clearly this is an opportunity for the UAE to make the right decision."

Israeli Shahar Peer has already been denied entry to the women's tournament in Dubai [AFP]
Ram said he hoped the UAE and tennis officials in Dubai had taken on board the global condemnation that has taken place this week following their decision to bar Peer.

"Hopefully, the Dubai government or the tournament will learn from their mistakes and they will let me go," he said.

"It's a complicated situation with the war we had in Israel.

"I understand the decision of their government but if they make a big tournament and don't accept all the players by ranking... then that is wrong."

The three-week Israeli offensive against Gaza, which killed 1,300 Palestinians and 14 Israelis, caused deep anger around the Arab and Muslim worlds.

ATP and WTA Tour rules state any player should be able to compete where they wish provided they have the required ranking.

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