The International Tennis Federation has announced that they have taken the decision to ban Tunisia from Davis Cup competition for an entire year, following their tennis federation’s decision to forcibly forbid a local player from competing against an Israeli opponent at a second-tier tournament last month.J
The statement read that the Tunisian federation was guilty of “interfering with international sporting practice” when it ordered Malek Jaziri to withdraw from his match against Israeli player Amir Weintraub at an ATP Challenger tournament in Uzbekistan last month.
“There is no room for prejudice of any kind in sport or in society,” ITF president Francesco Ricci Bitti said in the statement. “The ITF Board decided to send a strong message to the Tunisian Tennis Federation that this kind of action will not be tolerated by any of our members. The Board felt that suspension from Davis Cup, a competition that was founded 113 years ago to encourage better understanding through sport, would provide a good lesson for the Federation and a fitting penalty for their unfortunate action.”
The suspension is a mild one as Tunisia played in Group II of the 2013 Davis Cup and lost to Latvia in the first round, so this is unlikely to impact their nation in any significant manner.
Jaziri was told in an email from the Tunisian federation that “you are ordered not to play against the Israeli player.” The email was later provided to a local news agency and the story developed from there until the ITF caught word of the withdrawal and decided to take action against the attempted boycott.
With the regional conflict between Arab states and Israel, Arab countries have for the past few decades issued different degrees of boycotts against Israeli athletes as a form of protest over the Palestinian conflict.