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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Could Shahar Pe'er win Dubai?

Two years ago, she was banned from playing in Duabi. Last year, she reached the semifinals. On Wednesday, Israeli tennis pro Shahar Pe'er tore through her second round match in an hour and a half (according to Israel Radio) while living in quarantine.
Peer was granted entry in 2010 and reached the semi-finals before losing to Venus Williams. The security conditions she encountered last year exist again this week but she said that was not the reason she felt extra pressure to perform.

"It's because I want to do well," the ninth seed told a group of reporters allowed into her compound after a 6-4 6-1 first-round win over Spain's Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez on Tuesday.

"I played good here last year so always when you go back to a tournament where you played good, you want to repeat it."

Peer has some familiar faces taking care of her again this year in the compound inside the tournament grounds, providing VIP treatment with her own private locker room, lounge and food.

"It's the same people around me ... really nice people ... taking good care of me," she said. "It kind of feels like home so you can get the same inspiration because you feel very comfortable.

"I feel great here and will try to be here as long as possible."

Peer said the isolation helped her focus more on her tennis commitments.

"You're very concentrated. Last year I learned a lot for my future career, to try and not hang around at the tennis, to be there as less as possible and to really finish, do my matches, win, and go back," she explained.

"I have my dad here with me. We watch some movies and are really trying to have some fun together."

While many believe that politics and sport should not be mixed, Peer takes the opposite view.

"They should be connected, I think," said the Israeli. "They respect me coming here and really appreciate me coming.

"I think we're all trying to make one thing together, to be human beings and to respect each other."
If Pe'er wins, this country will explode in happiness like nothing we have experienced since we won our first Olympic gold medal. Who knows: Maybe they can even get Inspector Tamim to do the presentation. Heh.

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