Protests mar Israel’s Davis Cup joy

By James Martin, March 9, 2009

Israel has advanced to the quarter-finals of tennis’s most prestigious national team cup in a match that was overshadowed by violent political protests.

Israel’s joy at beating Sweden 3-2 and earning a tie with Russia in July, was tempered by the fact that violence erupted outside Malmo’s Baltic Arena during Saturday’s doubles match.

Riots outside the stadium saw rock-throwing protesters attempt to storm into the arena, with Swedish police forced to apprehend around 100 protesters.


Ram slams decision

By Simon Griver, March 5, 2009

Israeli doubles specialist Andy Ram believes that Sweden have made a “stupid decision” in preventing fans from attending the Davis Cup tie between the two nations, starting today.

Having become embroiled in an international dispute over a visa to compete in Dubai last month, he said: “I think it was a wrong decision. Maybe it will open the door for other countries to make a stupid decision like this one. I think it’s going to be very bad to play without a crowd.”


Ram: why I played in Dubai

By James Martin, February 26, 2009

Israeli tennis star Andy Ram has explained his reasons for deciding to go ahead and play in the Dubai Open after being labelled unpatriotic by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

Mr Ram was given a visa to play in the UAE only after a high-profile controversy the previous week over the exclusion of his compatriot, Shahar Pe’er, from the women’s tournament.

Ha’aretz quoted the Prime Minister as saying: “It would be highly worthwhile for someone to advise him to demonstrate patriotism and solidarity, and boycott the tournament.”


Sela boosts Davis Cup hopes

By Simon Griver, February 26, 2009

Dudi Sela has risen 21 places in the world rankings to 65 after reaching the semi-finals of the Memphis tournament.

Having come through the qualifiers, the Israeli beat three players ranked above him before going down in straight sets to Czech Radek Stepanek (16) in only the second-ever ATP semi of his career.

Sela, 23, maintained his fine form this week in Delray Beach, Florida with a first-round victory over Philipp Petzschner (80) of Germany, who was forced to retire hurt with Sela leading 6-3, 4-1.


Ram granted UAE visa

By Danny Caro, February 19, 2009

Doubles specialist Andy Ram has been granted a visa by the United Arab Emirates to play in the Dubai Championships.

There were fears that he would be denied access after compatriot Shahar Peer was banned from this week's women's tournament as organisers were concerned for her safety in the wake of the Gaza conflict.

But her exclusion was immediately condemned by the Women’s Tennis Association and fellow players while one of the tournament sponsors, Wall Street Journal Europe, withdrew their backing.


Tennis world threatens Dubai over Pe’er ban

By Daniella Peled, February 19, 2009

A major row over the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) decision to refuse a visa to Israeli tennis player Shahar Pe’er is escalating ahead of next week’s men’s championships, at which another Israeli is due to play.

International tennis organisations have hinted they may pull out of the $10 million (£7m) Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships if Israeli doubles player Andy Ram is also denied entry.


Peer power

By Simon Griver, February 19, 2009

Shahar Peer ended a turbulent week on a high as she climbed three places to 45 in the WTA rankings.

Banned from competing in the Dubai Open, the Israeli reached the semi-finals of the Pattaya City tournament in Thailand. Peer’s run saw her reach the last four of a competition in almost a year. The defeat by top seed Vera Zvonereva ended a run of five consecutive victories.

“My new trainer Pablo Giacopelli has given me a lot of confidence,” said Peer.

Andy Ram partnered Julian Knowle to reach the semis of the Rotterdam tournament.


Inspired Peer can’t lift Israel

By Simon Griver, February 12, 2009

Israel are in danger of being relegated from the Federation Cup World Group II after being drawn to play away to Estonia.

A plucky performance was not enough to save them from defeat in the Ukraine last weekend when they went down 3-2, and they must now travel to the Baltic state in late April when they will again start as underdogs.

Shahar Peer (48) and Tzipi Obziler are set to take on Kaia Kanepi (23) and Maret Ani (109).


Ram falls at final hurdle

By Dan Goldberg, February 2, 2009

Andy Ram failed to win his fourth grand slam doubles title at the Australian Open on Sunday.

Playing in the mixed doubles final alongside France’s Nathalie Dechy, the Israeli was outfoxed and outclassed by the Indian duo of Sania Mirza and Mahesh Bhupati 6-3, 6-1 in 55 minutes at Rod Laver Arena just before the much-anticipated men’s singles final between Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.

The Indian pair, who defeated Ram and Dechy in last year’s semi-final in Australia, broke in the first set and twice in the second set.


Ram in final

January 29, 2009

Australia Open

Israeli doubles specialist Andy Ram is in line to win the first Grant Slam of the year after reaching the mixed doubles final at the Australian Open in Melbourne.

Ram, who won the men’s doubles title with Jonathan Erlich last year, partnered Natalie Dechy of France to beat No. 7 seeds, Anabel Medina Garrigues and Tommy Robredo 7-6, 6-4.

The pair reached last year’s semi-finals in Australia and await the winner of the other semi between Czech duo Iveta Benesova and Lukas Dlouhy and Sania Mirza and Mahesh Bhupathi of India on Friday.