WTA needs to take a stand

STEVE SIMMONS, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:49 AM ET

TORONTO -- For almost a year, the Women's Tennis Association has been aware there would be problems getting Israeli tennis player Shahar Peer into the United Arab Emirates for a tournament this week.

And for almost a year, the WTA closed its eyes and hoped the problem would go away.

Instead, the tournament went on without Peer being allowed to enter the country -- a player caught up in the kind of politics that have nothing to do with her sport -- while the WTA shrugged its shoulders and its players demonstrated they can play the game without any kind of backbone at all.

Once Peer was banned, the WTA should have cancelled the tournament. Failing that, the players' should have stood up for one of their own and made the WTA take a stance. The new WTA motto could well be: Tennis without balls.

What's bothersome is that this nasty slight was accepted and few even challenged the premise. We wonder: Had one of the Williams sisters been banned from entering a country because of the colour of their skin, what might have the reaction been in and out of tennis?

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