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Political boycott over, Tunisia's Malek Jaziri plays Israel's Dudi Sela

by: Kamakshi Tandon | September 21, 2016

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Malek Jaziri, acting on apparent instructions from the Tunisian federation, had previously avoided playing Israelis at tournaments. (Wikimedia Commons)

Malek Jaziri, Tunisia's top player, has apparently had political restrictions against him lifted.

Last week, in a Challenger event in Istanbul, Jaziri played Israel’s Dudi Sela in the final. Jaziri won, 1-6, 6-1, 6-0.

Jaziri, acting on apparent instructions from the Tunisian tennis federation, had previously avoided playing Israelis at tournaments. In 2013, scheduled to play Amir Weintraub, he withdrew from a Challenger tournament in Tashkent. The International Tennis Federation suspended Tunisia from Davis Cup play in response.

In Montpellier in 2015, Jaziri retired with an elbow injury after the first set of his opening-round match against Denis Istomin. He was in line to play Sela. He also withdrew from the doubles competition, where he was scheduled to play against Israeli Jonathan Erlich. But an ATP investigation found that Jaziri did, indeed, have an injury, and ruled that there was no improper behavior.

Sela, in an interview during the 2015 offseason, said that he and Jaziri got along and had even occasionally trained together. Indicating that the boycott was not a personal decision, Sela added that changes to federation personnel meant he had "heard we can play next time."

Jaziri has won three Challenger events this season.

The 32-year-old, ranked 70th going into the tournament, moved up 15 spots to a career-high No. 55. 


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