Lisicki, Date join list of 12 for Bali event
Ary Hermawan , The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Thu, 10/29/2009 1:54 PM | Sports
Germany's Sabine Lisicki and Kimiko Date Krumm of Japan have been given wild cards for the last two berths at the inaugural Commonwealth Bank Tournament of Champions in Bali next week.
The two players, whose inclusions were announced Wednesday in a press release, will join 10 other players who qualified for the event after winning at least one of the 30 WTA Tour-sanctioned international tournaments.
Among the contenders at the US$600,000 season-ending event is Shahar Peer of Israel, whose qualification has drawn media attention, given the sensitivity within the Indonesian public - predominantly Muslims - stemming from what they consider Israel's tough stance on Palestine.
The Jerusalem Post reported Tuesday that the Indonesian government had granted a visa to Peer, although Jakarta has no diplomatic ties with Tel Aviv and has long been a harsh critic of the country.
The government's decision has left the 22-year-old visibly relieved.
"I'm happy this issue has been settled and that I can play in Bali," Peer said as quoted by The Jerusalem Post.
"I'm looking forward to this event and I'm especially pleased with the fact that the Dubai scandal did not repeat itself."
In February, Peer missed out on the Dubai Tennis Championships after the United Arab Emirates, which also has no diplomatic relation with Israel, denied her a visa, citing security fears.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Teuku Faizasyah, when asked about Peer's coming to Indonesia, said he would seek confirmation from the Indonesian Embassy in Singapore.
"Looking at the past, I think there's no reason to bar her from coming to Indonesia for a sporting event as long - as there are no Israeli *objects* on display at the tournament, such as the flag," he said.
Israeli citizens with dual nationalities often use their second passport to enter Indonesia. An affidavit is usually issued for Israelis with a single nationality, as Indonesian immigration officers do not stamp Israeli passports.
In June, the government allowed four Israelis to attend a UN meeting that it hosted on Palestine.
Peer qualified for the Bali event, running from Nov. 4 to 8, after winning back-to-back titles in Guangzhou and Tashkent in September.
She made headlines earlier in the year over the Dubai debacle, which came amid outrage in the Muslim world over the Israeli military offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
"We have worked very hard to make the Commonwealth Bank Tournament of Champions one of the best tournaments on *the WTA* Tour, and I am sure that players and fans will enjoy an exciting week of tennis in a spectacular location in Bali," the tournament director was quoted as saying.
Marion Bartoli (FRA), Smantha Stosur (AUS), Yanina Wickmayer (BEL), Anabel Medina Garrigues (ESP), Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez (ESP), Melinda Czink (HUN), Aravane Rezai (FRA), Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK), Shahar Peer (ISR), Agnes Szavay (HUN), Sabine Lisicki (GER), Kimiko Date Krumm (JPN)