Israel Open axed due to Gaza conflict

Safety of players, fans force men's tennis' governing body to cancel the inaugural version of the tennis tournament.

    Over 1,800 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since July 8 [EPA]
    Over 1,800 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since July 8 [EPA]

    The inaugural $1 million ATP Israel Open that had been scheduled to be held in Tel Aviv next month has been cancelled because of the conflict in the Gaza Strip.

    The ATP World Tour 250 event, which was due to take place from September 15, would have been the first high-profile men's tournament to be held in Israel since 1996.

    "We regret the ATP World Tour event in Tel Aviv, Israel, will not take place this year. Sadly, we do not feel we can proceed as planned given the situation in the region," ATP Executive Chairman and President Chris Kermode said on the ATP's website (atpworldtour.com).

    "Ensuring the security of our players, fans and all those involved in organising a world-class event, is our number one priority. We hope to be back in Tel Aviv next year. In the meantime, and much more importantly, we hope for a swift return to peace in the region."

    Israel launched its offensive on July 8 following a surge in Hamas rocket salvoes.

    Gaza officials say more than 1800 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have been killed in the fighting. Israel has lost 64 soldiers in combat and three civilians.

    European football's governing body, UEFA, last month barred Israeli clubs involved in continental club competitions from hosting matches on home soil and they have been moved to Cyprus.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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