Investigation Into Tunisian Tennis Player's Alleged Refusal to Play Israeli Dropped

Malek Jaziri said he withdrew from tournament because of an injury, but international tennis body decided to probe because in 2013 he withdrew from a match against an Israeli opponent.

Samuel Petrequin
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Tunisian Malek Jaziri plays a shot to Nick Kyrgios of Australia during their third round match at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Jan. 23, 2015.Credit: AP
Samuel Petrequin

AP - The ATP dropped its investigation Tuesday into Tunisian player Malek Jaziri's withdrawal before a possible match against an Israeli opponent, saying it was "fully satisfied" that he had a legitimate injury.

Jaziri retired from his first-round match against sixth-seeded Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan after winning the first set 6-3 at the Open Sud de France in Montpelier last week, citing an elbow injury. Had Jaziri beaten Istomin, he would have played Israel's Dudi Sela in the next round.

Israel's Dudi Sela playing in Antwerp, Belgium, Sept. 15, 2013. Credit: AP

The ATP decided to investigate because of a previous incident in which Tunisia's tennis federation ordered Jaziri to withdraw from a match against an Israeli opponent in 2013 at a second-tier tournament in Uzbekistan.

In a statement to The Associated Press, the ATP said it spoke at length with Jaziri and tournament medical staff in Montpelier.

"The ATP is fully satisfied as to the legitimacy of the player's reasons for retiring from his match due to an elbow injury," it said. "Accordingly, this matter is considered closed."

After forbidding Jaziri from facing Israel's Amir Weintraub in the quarterfinals of the ATP Challenger tournament in Tashkent two years ago, Tunisia was banned from the 2014 Davis Cup by the ITF for "interfering with international sporting practice."

In Montpellier, the 65th-ranked Jaziri also withdrew from doubles, where he would have faced another Israeli opponent. He and Spanish partner Marc Lopez had been set to play Jonathan Erlich of Israel and Cermak Frantisek of the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals.

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