WTA stunned as Israeli player denied entry to UAE

DUBAI: The future of the two million dollar Dubai Open may be at risk after Shahar Peer was prevented from competing in the event, which starts Sunday.

The world number 48 from Israel has been denied a visa into the Gulf state, bringing a strongly worded statement from the Women''s Tennis Association, which runs the women''s tour. The blocking of Peer is a surprise because she was given a visa to play in the Qatar Open in Doha last year, a visit, which was a considerable success both in tennis and diplomatic terms.

But the change in relations between Israel and neighbouring states, following the recent Gaza conflict, is almost certainly the reason for a change of attitude in the United Arab Emirates. Last year there was talk of two other Israeli players, Jonathan Ehrlich and Andy Ram, taking part in Dubai.