Thank you, Venus Williams...
She's got character!
Israeli tennis player Shahar Pe’er was permitted to play in the Barclay’s Dubai Tennis Championships in February with help from women’s professional tour star Venus Williams. After Pe’er was denied entrance to the United Arab Emirates for the 2009 championship, Williams spoke out, saying that she would not participate in the following year’s Dubai competition if Pe’er were denied entrance again. The Anti-Defamation League subsequently honored Williams for her efforts.
This year, Dubai officials granted Pe’er a visa, allowing her to compete. Nevertheless, the Israeli was separated completely from the other Women’s Tennis Association competitors and, for security reasons, allowed movement only from her hotel room to the tennis courts. Pe’er also was the only player to not appear on the center court for a match.
Ironically, Williams defeated Pe’er 6-1, 6-4 in a semi-finals match . But Williams again spoke up for Pe’er, saying, “She’s just brave. She’s got so much character. I can’t imagine being in her shoes.” The seven-time Grand Slam winner continued, “I can’t imagine playing so well with these kinds of circumstances. I just have to give her congratulations and props. She’s courageous. I don’t think anyone else on the WTA Tour could do what she’s doing.”
Despite being competitors on the court, the two tennis stars had only kind words for each other. “I told her I really appreciate her support this week and last year,” Pe’er said at the time of Williams.