After news that a Tunisian player had suspiciously withdrawn from a tournament ahead of a potential match-up against an Israeli in the following round, the ATP World Tour has officially cleared him of any wrongdoing.
The Associated Press revealed that the ATP was satisfied with Malek Jaziri’s withdrawal, and added that he had a legitimate injury.
Jaziri, took the first set off Denis Istomin in Round 1 of the Open Sud de France. He later retired from the match after he suffered an elbow injury and called for the trainer on two occasions.
This incident immediately took center stage, as in 2013, the Tunisian Tennis federation forced Jaziri to withdraw from am ATP Challenger match against Israeli opponent Amir Weintraub in Uzbekistan. This led to the International Tennis Federation placing a ban on Tunisia from the 2014 Davis Cup.
Here is Jaziri’s reasoning as quoted by Fédéric Bernès in l’Équipe (via @markalannixon)
“My phone is off, it’s not working. I haven’t received any orders or pressure. I’m playing Denis, he’s no piece of cake. I hadn’t looked at my next match, and even if I’d known … I got a golfer’s elbow at the Australian Open (reached the 3rd round). The travelling after, the time differences, that didn’t help. I’ve only hit the ball once in the last eight days. I took pain killers but I’m still hurting. Not so much when I hit the ball, but just after bringing the racquet back. It’s like a tendinitis in the forearm. You have to be smart in cases like this – I’ve got some big tournaments ahead in Memphis, Indian Wells, Miami and I didn’t want to run the risk of aggravating the problem. My cervical vertebrae really hurt this morning.”
Following their investigation, the ATP announced that they were fully satisfied with the Jaziri’s story, as well as that of the medical staff on duty at the time in Montpellier.
”The ATP is fully satisfied as to the legitimacy of the player’s reasons for retiring from his match due to an elbow injury,” it said. ”Accordingly, this matter is considered closed.”