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Israel suffers double Davis Cup blow

    Israel's chances of returning to the Davis Cup World Group took a major hit this week when Harel Levy and Noam Okun announced their retirement from the professional tennis circuit. Both players are aged 32 and are former top 100 stars.

    Levy said: "The decision has been taken and I will not carry on playing after March."

    Levy's career peaked in 2001 when he rose to a ranking of 30 after reaching the final of the Nottingham ATP tournament. But a hip injury sidelined him for nine months and he never recaptured top form. Levy won $1.5 million in prize money and heroic performances in the Davis Cup kept Israel in the World Group between 2008-2010.

    He will retire after Israel hosts Poland in the Davis Cup Europe Zone A tie in March. Levy has become the temporary coach of Israel's top player, Dudi Sela.

    Okun reached a career high of 95 in 2003. He said: "I have no choice but to retire. My back problems are not going away and I cannot carry on playing."

    The double retirement means that Amir Weintraub (281) is set to join Sela in Davis Cup matches.

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