Mar 4, 2009

It's better safe than sorry

Israeli tennis player Andy Ram said Swedish authorities made a “stupid decision” when they barred fans from the Davis Cup series between the two countries.

Well, Ram, take a look at what had happened to the Sri Lankan cricket team yesterday, and you might want to think twice.

Eight people were killed and seven other wounded in the attack when unidentified gunmen firing at the visiting Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore, the capital city of Punjab.

In the latest updates, New Zealand Cricket has called off their Pakistan tour scheduled in December.

Now back to tennis, I understand how frustrated Ram, his fellow teammates and the Swedish team were to play the first-round series in Malmo in an empty stadium.

Malmo city officials had to make the hardest decision by keeping the fans away as they couldn’t guarantee security at the 4,000-seat Baltic Hall.

Anti-Israel protests are already expected in Malmo, and about 1,000 police have been called to keep protesters from the arena.

After Sweden, other countries who will be playing Israel could 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.”
Harel Levy, another member of Israel’s four-man team, said it was wrong to mix sports and politics.
“We are here to play tennis,” Levy said.

“We are not here to talk about politics or to talk about terror.”
Dudi Sela and Noam Okun are also on the Israeli team.

Sweden are represented by Robert Lindstedt, Simon Aspelin, Bjorn Rehnquist and Daniel Berta. Veteran Thomas Johansson has been practicing with the Swedish team.
“We’re here since Sunday and we saw him (Johansson) play every day, practicing very hard, so he’s going to play,” Sela predicted.
Johansson, the 2002 Australian Open champion, was disappointed his country won’t get the benefit of a cheering crowd.
“When you play Davis Cup on home turf you want a full house, and we think it’s too bad that there won’t be,” he said.
(Via AP; Images by Drago Prvulovic/AFP/Getty Images via Yahoo! Sports)
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