Under Tight Security, Israeli Makes Dubai Tennis Debut

UAE accepts player after barring his fellow citizen from competition
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Feb 26, 2009 9:23 AM CST
Israel's Andy Ram returns the ball to Russia's Marat Safin and Spain's David Ferrer, not seen, during his doubles match in Dubai.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – A week after denying a visa to one Israeli tennis player, Dubai ushered in another yesterday amid tight security—and his match went smoothly, the Guardian reports. After fines and criticism for its decision to reject female player Shahar Peer’s bid to play, the United Arab Emirates made Andy Ram the first Israeli to play in the country, the AP adds.

Armed guards met Ram, 28, at the airport; during his doubles match, spectators were confined to one end of the court after submitting to searches and metal detectors, and the umpire was barred from identifying Ram’s nationality. “I was trying to do something big and to put sport above politics,” said Ram, who lost the match.