Tunisia Forces Top Player to Withdraw Against Israeli Opponent

Tunisia’s top tennis player, Malek Jaziri, ranked 169th in the world, was told by the country’s tennis federation to withdraw from a match against Israeli Amir Weintraub. They are in Uzbekistan for the ATP Challenger tournament.

He hopes this does not ruin his career. Jaziri’s brother Amir passed this email from the federation to the country’s state run news agency:

 "Following a meeting this afternoon with the Ministry of Youth and Sports, I have the immense regret to inform you that you are ordered not to play against the Israeli player," the federation said in an email to Jaziri.

However, it is not new for an Arab country to boycott Israel in sports. Nick Imison, the International Tennis Federation’s spokesman, will be in touch with Tunisia’s government.

"The ITF believes that sport fosters good collaboration between nations. And, as such, players should be able to compete freely on the international circuit," Imison said. "If a federation were responsible for a player not taking part that would go against the ethos of the organization and against the ITF constitution."

He said it was unclear what, if any, sanctions could be imposed.

"The most important thing going forward is for Tunisian players to be able to play freely against any opponents in the future," Imison said. "That is the aim of all the tennis governing bodies."


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