Political restrictions against playing Israelis have apparently been lifted on Tunisia’s top tennis player, Tennis.com report.
Tunisian Malek Jaziri played Israeli Dudi Sela in the Challenger event in Istanbul last week, going on to win in the final. According to the website, Jaziri had apparently avoided avoided playing Israelis at past tournaments.
In a 2015 interview Sela had said that he and Jaziri enjoyed a good relationship and even trained together. Sela also suggested that Jaziri’s apparent boycott was not a personal decision and that he hoped changes in Tunisia’s Tennis Federation would mean that they would be able to compete against each other in future.
Tunisia had previously been suspended from competing in the Davis Cup after Jaziri withdrew from a 2013 Challenger tournament in Tashkent after it was announced he would play against Israeli, Amir Weintraub.
During a Montpellier contest last year, Jaziri retired with an elbow injury during the initial stages of his match against Uzbek,Denis Istomin, which would have led to him facing Israeli, Jonathan Erlich. However, an investigation by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) cleared Jaziri of any wrongdoing.
While Tunisia has been willing to engage with Israel in sporting events, in 2014 the President of the Israel Association of Baseball (IAB), Peter Kurz claimed that he had been banned from displaying his country’s flag during an international event in Hammamet.
Earlier this year, Egyptian Judoka, Islam El Shehaby was sent home from the Rio Olympics after refusing to shake the hand of Israeli, Or Sasson, (who went on to win bronze) following the end of their bout. At the 2004 Athens Olympics then Iranian world champion Arash Mirasmaeili refused to fight Israeli judoka Ehud Vaks, earning praise back home.