2/22/09 7:59 PM | Ricky Dimon
Andy Roddick pulled out next week's Barclays Tennis Championhips in Dubai, along with many others, as a result of the current visa controversy.
Andy Roddick joined Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, among several others, on the list of players who have withdrawn from next week's ATP event in Dubai. While injuries played a part in the absences of both Federer and Nadal, Roddick based his decision on this past week's controversy in which Shahar Peer was denied entry into the women's event.
Roddick, speaking from Memphis where will play in the final against Radek Stepanek, explained his decision.
"I think a big part of it is I didn't really agree with what went on over there," the sixth-ranked American said when asked why he pulled out. "I don't know if it's the best thing to mix politics and sports. That was probably a big part of it.
"I made the trip over there last year after playing here," he continued. "I just don't…I guess I want to preface that with the time that I have spent in the UAE, I have been treated great. Everybody I've come across there has just been extraordinary to deal with.
"It's just unfortunate that someone in the government can make a decision that reflects upon a tournament, which is actually a great event. I think it's just a disappointing that when you see a headline and it revolves around tennis…something like that is disappointing to see."
When asked if being the defending champ in Dubai almost convinced him to go back, Roddick responded, "There were a lot of factors why I should probably go. Obviously that I've played well there doesn't make it any easier. Like I said, whether it was Dubai or Abu Dhabi this year for an exhibition, I've had great times there. I've really enjoyed myself.
"It's just disappointing that that reflects a tournament which probably didn't have much to do with the decision. Nevertheless, I just don't feel like there's need for that in a sporting event. I don't think you make political statements through sports."
Roddick noted that the upcoming Davis Cup tie was not a factor in his decision, but he did say that "it will probably help for Davis Cup, also." He will spend the next week and half preparing for the USA's opening-round tie against Switzerland, to be held in Birmingham. Federer has also pulled out of that event.
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