Ram drops opening match in Dubai


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli tennis star Andy Ram lost his opening doubles match in the Dubai tournament.

Ram, ranked 12th in the world in doubles play, received a special permit Feb. 19 to enter the United Arab Emirates to play in the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships following international criticism over the country’s decision not to allow Israeli Shachar Pe’er to play in the women’s competition.

Ram and partner Kevin Ullyett of Zimbabwe were beaten Wednesday by Russia’s Marat Safin and Spain’s David Ferrer. Security was tight for the match, including the use of metal detectors.

Earlier in the week, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert urged Ram to boycott the tournament.

"I was a bit surprised to discover that Andy Ram did intend to go there," Ha’aretz quoted Olmert as saying Sunday. "It would be highly worthwhile for someone to advise him to demonstrate patriotism and solidarity and boycott the tournament."

The men’s defending champion, Andy Roddick, skipped the tournament over the failure to grant an entry visa to Pe’er.

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