According to Douglas Robson, an source has confirmed that UAE has denied Andy Ram a visa.
But check this out:
The expected rejection would cast Ram and partner Jonathan Erlich’s decision to pull out of the Dubai event a year ago in a more dubious light. The two Israeli doubles players said publicly after winning the 2008 Australian Open they intended to compete in Dubai, but have refused to elaborate in detail about why they decided at the 11th hour not to go.
The tandem’s former agent, Norman Canter, sought seven-figure compensation from the ATP, the Dubai tournament and its sponsors following the unexplained withdrawal. In an extraordinary move, the ATP board, then led by departed executive chairman Etienne de Villiers, reimbursed the doubles pair for their travel expenses.
In Australia last month, Ram, 28, said that he wanted to play at the $2.3 million Persian Gulf tournament, if for no other reason than it had been upgraded to a “500” status event with more ranking points and prize money.
“For me, going there would be like going to another tournament,” said the Uruguay-born Ram, who with Erlich would have been the first Israeli athletes to compete in the UAE, which has no diplomatic relations with Israel.
The 11th-ranked Ram did not immediately return emails seeking comment. Erlich is recovering from right elbow surgery has not played since last September’s U.S. Open. He is not seeking to enter the $2.3 million tournament.
Last month in Melbourne, Ram gave the same muddled explanation for last year's about face: that the documentation he and Erlich needed to travel to Dubai was late in arriving; that Erlich got cold feet; and ultimately, they did not press the issue by boarding a plane to find out if they would be allowed to enter. “We didn’t do everything we could to go,” he said. Whether they could have entered is “in the air,” he said.
The rejection of Peer and presumably of Ram puts Dubai’s place in tennis calendar in danger. In order to be sanctioned by the ATP or WTA, tournaments must accept entries of players only on the basis of ranking. Otherwise, they risk fines or de-sanctioning.
The Dubai tournament is owned by Dubai Duty Free, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Dubai government. Dubai is one of seven emirates that make up the UAE.
What does this all mean? Well it looks like clear evidence that at least the ATP (and therefore the WTA in my eyes) knew that this was going to be the position of the UAE government. The ATP didn't take any action this year based on the UAE's actions last year. Completely sackless. Will the WTA do the same thing in 2010? Or will Larry put his foot down and take the tourney elsewhere?
And what becomes of Shahar, who wasn't given the opportunity to defend her Doha points and also lost quite a bit of money. If you look at her proposed draw she could have easily gotten to the third round.
All I know is that the more publicity this gets the better. No more sweeping this crap under the rug by either party.
Robson's article is a very good read. I highly recommend you click through and read the whole thing.