Israel's women's tennis squad yesterday received a home draw against Indonesia, raising questions whether the world's most populous Muslim nation will send its team to the Ramat Hasharon Tennis Center for the World Group II playoff.
Immediately after yesterday's draw in London, the Indonesian Tennis Federation put out messages that it would seek to have the tie held on neutral ground, as was the case in the previous two encounters between the teams in Napoli in 1974 and in Tokyo in 1981.
However, the format of the competition has since changed and Indonesia can expect to incur a stiff penalty if it refuses to play in Israel. In 1988 the International Tennis Federation suspended India for a year after it refused to play in Israel.
"We wish to host Indonesia and to put on a great show for the Israeli fans," said Israel Tennis Association spokesman Lidor Goldberg. "But it's unfortunate that politics and sport are not kept separate."
Indonesia's top players are Wynne Prakusya, ranked 220 in the world, and Romana Tedjakusuma, ranked 244. Its most well known player is Angelique Widjaja, who is currently ranked 620 in the world, but at her peak was ranked 55.
Widjaja has played twice in the past against Anna Smashnova, defeating her at Wimbledon in 2002 and losing in the same year in Shanghai.
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