Israel's Andy Ram blasts 'stupid' Swedish ban on tennis fans
Ram says decision to play the first round series against Sweden in Malmo in an empty stadium could inspire other countries to follow suit.
Israeli tennis player Andy Ram said Swedish authorities made a stupid decision when they chose to ban Davis Cup fans from attending the best-of-five series between the two countries.
Ram, one of the players embroiled in an international controversy last month over entry into the United Arab Emirates, said Tuesday that the decision to play the first round series in Malmo between Israel and Sweden in an empty stadium could inspire other countries to follow suit.
"I think it was a wrong decision. I think it maybe can open the door for other countries (to) make a stupid decision like this one," Ram said. "I think it's going to be very bad to play without a crowd."
Israeli player Shahar Peer was denied entry into the UAE for the Dubai Tennis Championships last month. After an international outcry against the decision, Ram was allowed to play in the men's tournament the following week.
But Malmo city officials decided to keep the fans away from the Davis Cup series Friday through Sunday because they said they couldn't guarantee security at the 4,000-seat Baltic Hall. Anti-Israel protests are expected in Malmo, and about 1,000 police have been called in to keep protesters from the arena.Harel Levy, another member of Israel's team, said it was wrong to mix sports and politics.