Tennis Channel, having elected not to televise a women's tournament this week from Dubai over the United Arab Emirates' refusal to grant an entry visa to an Israeli player, is keeping a close eye on the men's event that follows in that city.
Tennis, which was scheduled to air action from the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships, decided against it after Shahar Peer, an Israeli citizen was denied the visa to the nation.
A similar situation could occur with next week's ATP World Tour Dubai Tennis Championships as Israeli player Andy Ram may also be denied entry.
Tennis officials said no decision has been made yet concerning its coverage plans for the men's tourney, but it is something the network is "watching closely."
The network issued the following statement concerning its decision to drop coverage this week saying that "the event will exclude a single player who has been blocked from entering the country due to her nationality. This is despite her having qualified for the competition via her on-court performance and current ranking.
"Tennis Channel recognizes that this exclusion has been made by state authorities and neither the tour nor tournament directors themselves," the statement continued. "However we also honor the role and proud tradition that tennis has always played as a driving force for inclusion both on and off the courts. Preventing an otherwise qualified athlete from competing on the basis of anything other than merit has no place in tennis or any other sport, and has the unfortunate result of undermining the credibility of the very nature of competition itself."
Relative to the women's tournament, the WTA chairman and CEO Larry Scott indicated that the Dubai event is "at risk of being dropped from next year's calendar."
The smarter way to stay on top of the multichannel video marketplace. Sign up below.