August 31, 2012, - 4:00 pm
American pro tennis player Andy Roddick announced yesterday that he is retiring from tennis after this week’s U.S. Open. And I will miss him because he is one of the few courageous, principled men in pro sports, today. As you may recall, in 2009, when Israeli Jewish professional tennis players were banned from the Qatar Open and Dubai Tennis Championshps per the Arab Muslim boycott on Israel and accompanying apartheid travel ban against Israeli Jews, Roddick was the only pro tennis player to speak out against it. Not only did he speak out against it, he went a heroic step further by pulling out of the 2009 Dubai Tennis Championships.
Dubai relented after being fined $300,000 for refusing a visa to Israeli player Shahar Pe’er. But Roddick, a gentile, was a better Jew than Ms. Pe’er, who chose to participate in Dubai’s Jewish tennis player minstrel show. In discussing why he pulled out of the tournament, he made it clear he didn’t approve.
U.S. star Andy Roddick said he wouldn’t defend his Dubai title next week.
“I really didn’t agree with what went on over there. I don’t know if it’s the best thing to mix politics and sports, and that was probably a big part of it,” Roddick said.
As the top American men’s tennis player for the last decade, Roddick didn’t need to do that. But he’s a mensch.
Roddick won the tournament the previous year and could have won big cash again, had he not chosen to boycott. What athletes will do that, today? None. Roddick’s protest was especially appreciated, given that the Williams Sisters, Venus and Serena, defended Qatar and refused to press the issue, despite the fact that Venus Williams sat on tennis’ governing board–the board that could have forced Qatar to allow the Israelis.
By the way, Roddick is also a Republican, according to several news reports.
Tags: Andy Roddick, Dubai, Dubai Tennis Championships, Israel, men's tennis, Qatar, Qatar Open, tennis