• Roddick explains Dubai decision

    2/22/09 7:59 PM | Ricky Dimon
    Roddick explains Dubai decision 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    Andy Roddick joined Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, among several others, on the list of players who have withdrawn from next week's ATP event in Dubai.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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FYI USA is going to play against Switzerland in the opening-round...

lolethhh , 2/22/09 8:51 PM

BRAVO ANDY! It's great to see a player finally take an unpopular stand on this, he as defending champion no less so he has more to lose than anybody else. Really brave of him I am impressed.

Federer's lack of denounment was disgraceful and cowardly. He continues to go down not only in rank and but in class and integrity.

sheila , 2/22/09 9:23 PM

lol what the hell r u on about sheila? this article is actually about roddick...

kaitepai , 2/23/09 1:23 AM

It's unfortunate that anyone not be given a visa because of their country's political entanglements, but I wonder if Roddick would have felt as strongly if a Palestinian had been prevented from competing in a tournament held in Israel.

While some may commend Roddick's boycott, it should be remembered that offices of the government determine who gets a visa, not the tournament. Secondly, it could just as easily be argued the Dubai government were perfectly justified in withholding a visa from Peer. Some people say politics and sport should not mix, but I say why not? The US government led a boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics after Russia invaded Afghanistan. Well, Israel is occupying Palestinian land and persists in killing 1000s of defenceless, innocent Palestinians, while the US government backs this behaviour and continues to supply the murder weapons. South African athletes also had to endure restrictions due to the injustices perpetrated by their government during the apartheid regime. There was even discussion about whether some would boycott last year's Olympics in Beijing due to the brutal Chinese regime.

In the UK, there is a boycott against Israeli academics teaching in British institutions, which even has the support of some of them, so I think there are definitely legitimate grounds for what Peer has experienced. Her being prevented from competing in one tournament, for which she is going to get the points and money anyway, pales in comparison to the humiliation and suffering the Palestinians have to endure everyday. If some privileged people have to experience the odd inconvenience to ultimate save 1000s of lives in the future, I say so be it. Let's keep things in perspective here. Hitting a fuzzy ball over a net is not the be all and end all.,7340,L-3257291,00.html

scarbo , 2/23/09 1:42 AM

Also, why does Federer have to say anything? Why single him out? He's not even in competition at the moment and won't be until Indian Wells. Being from Switzerland, he may even choose to be neutral on the issue, given both the Dubai government and Peer have legitimate reasons to hold their current views on the matter.

scarbo , 2/23/09 2:15 AM

Sheila - this is a great thing that Andy did - kudos to him - but it's not an opportunity to bash Fed (or Rafa) - they aren't even playing in Dubai!! Or any of the men for that matter. If you want to be outraged over someones "lack of denouncement" being "disgraceful and cowardly", look no futher than your own sex (and mine) - THEY DID NOTHING! Furthermore, I haven't seen any of the other male players make statements yet - and DDF is still claiming "hernia" as the reason for Andy's absence - LOL - although didn't look like his "hernia" was bothering him today in his victory. :)

tenisbebe , 2/23/09 6:50 AM

scarbo - a few points:
1) The tournament is run and owned by DDF (Dubai Duty Free), a subsidiary of the department of civil aviation, a government body. DDF in turn is owned by the Al Maktoum family dynasty who also happen to run the department of civil aviation, the airports, the national airline and Dubai. In other words the tournament is government owned, government run and can basically decide who gets into the country and who doesn?t. So, DDF and the tournament are very much part of the visa issuing process when it comes to players like Shahar Peer.

(2) The issue is the tournament in Dubai agreeing to host a tournament, and then determining for themselves what rules they will follow and what rules they will not, in violation of the via the contract they signed with the WTA. This is neither fair to all other tournaments in the world, nor to individual players who have joined the WTA with the expectation that their rights as a member of that organization will be upheld.

The interest for the players and the WTA administration is in preventing any tournament from a country with a political dispute to follow the rules of the tour from throwing the tour into an unmanageable mish-mosh of cases of discrimination against individuals from literally anywhere on the planet.

Belgrade banning Croats. Umag/Zagreb banning Serbs. Warsaw banning Germans and Russians. Anyone with a problem with US policies banning Americans. This is obviously not acceptable, and it is this that the players and the WTA should have boycotted, not the politics of the UAE policy to ban Israeli?s.

(3) When the US hosts an international/olympic events, countries with whom they have no diplomatic relations participate - including Cuba, Iran and Libya. If a country?s Olympic committee chooses not to or cannot participate (via Boycott), that is within their rights to do so - there is no rule impelling a country to participate. But when individuals are discriminated against in violation of the rules of a competition that a country has agreed to host, that is incorrect and must be addressed immediately and severely, lest we wind up in the aforementioned quagmire.

(4) As for whether Roddick would have felt as strongly if a Palestinian had been prevented from competing in a tournament held in Israel, we would all hope so for the reasons above stated.

tenisbebe , 2/23/09 7:25 AM

Oh no!! =(
1st it was Roger,now it is Andy??
Maybe that's a great decision for him, but I kind of miss both player on court.
I love Roger and I like Andy so much..
Can't wait to see both in action..

aShleY , 2/23/09 8:25 AM

I just feel miserable as a tennis fan living in Dubai. I've anticipating this tournament (obviously!) for months. And so many fabulous players pulled out. Its not the end of the world, it's still a good field. I'll survive. I just wish Andy wouldn't make political moves using sport if he thinks you shouldn't be making political moves with sport.

Jyocka , 2/24/09 1:21 PM

It goes both ways! I support Andy.

Rafterfan , 2/24/09 2:19 PM

Sheila, you made me laugh. Where is your righteous anger for Nadal's lack of "denounment"? Or for the complacency of the women's players? You seem to hold Federer to a higher standard than others. Got a secret crush we should know about? ;)


Arvis , 2/24/09 6:46 PM

Why single Federer out? Because he lives there!

Thank God for Andy Roddick, the only player who has the gumption to stand up for discrimination, unlike the cowardly neutral Swiss crybaby.

sheila , 2/24/09 7:53 PM

Player Profile : Roger Federer (SUI)
Birthplace:Basel, Switzerland
Residence:Bottmingen, Switzerland

tenisbebe , 2/25/09 1:24 AM

I heard Fed bought some place in Dubai. But he skipped Dubai because of back pain so he is already out of it. Why are you not attacking players who actually play there like Morray, Djoker, Gillet, Cyclic,

torres9 , 2/25/09 8:43 AM

It is not nice when you talk about a thing you did not live or experienced,
the war that happened three months ago in gaza reflected it's daily impacts on the people's lives in the region for over than 40 days, do you know what it is like to open the TV at morning to check the news before you go to your work, to see died children's photos numbers going up by hundreds each day the total numbers of died people reached 4000,does Mr. Roddick knows we did not celebrate the year's eve in the region because of the war in Gaza, while he was treated like a royalty in an another UAE city: Abu Dhabi?

I agree that sport should be away from politics, but you have you to excuse people's feelings that can not be according to WTP regulations, I can understand if Israeli government did not allow a player from Palestine and from Hamas to play there, and I think the way Venus spoke about the great player in question in front of the Prince's wife herself shows how great and understanding the royalty were there, all of sudden she became the great loss of the sport!

Roddick does not know what is this region been subjected for, all what he experienced there is fancy hotels ,great hospitality, but it is not the only side of the story, I personally wish that they will let this player next year, because I think Dubai is a great city and they are organizing a great event and nothing should be held against them, the way they treat different people from different backgrounds and nationalities is impressive, and should be respected.

tennislover , 2/25/09 9:47 AM

As far as I understood, Murray, Djokovic, Simon and the others are guilty participating in Dubai and they should be 'attacked', torres9 comletely NONSENSE, don't mention the players who don't have any connection with this subject, are they guilty, Mr.Arrogant have no interest playing in Dubai and under his own country flag, give me a break, and get focused on your crafty fox, instead of other players commenting without any valid reason, cheers

gordana , 2/25/09 11:10 AM

I think Roddick's political decision is commendable.
No sportsperson should be denied competing on the grounds of their nationality.
Mind you, former Yugoslavian football team was denied the place , I think in 1992 at the European football Cup, when the Danes who hadn't qualified from the same group, were granted a place instead of Yugoslavian team and , eventually WON!
I wish the same brotherly sporsmanlike spirit was shown then.
I also think noone should be parised or criticised for shunning or participating in any sport event.
Athletes have shelf life and it's not fair on them to be denied a lifetime chance to compete at their peak.
Remember all the silly boycotting of the Olympic games in the 80s.....
Why should sports people wear consequences of politicians' mindgames.
As far as I'm concerned, they should all be kicked up their greasy backsides and play more sport, maybe they would think clearer...

noleisthebest , 2/25/09 1:23 PM

Dear gordana, your ignorance is beyond belief. I was commenting on sheila's comments. Please read all the posts before making some hillarious comments.

torres9 , 2/25/09 3:11 PM

Current ATP-rankings

1. Djokovic 12 500 pts
2. Murray 8 750 pts
3. Federer 8 670 pts
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