JERUSALEM — Tunisia was suspended from next year’s Davis Cup after ordering one of its national team members to withdraw from a tournament rather than play an Israeli.
The International Tennis Federation in a statement on Saturday said the Tunisian national team would be banned from the 2014 world competition for ordering Malek Jaziri not to compete against Israel’s Amir Weintraub at the 2013 Tashkent Challenger in October.
The statement said the “ITF Board of Directors found that the Tunisian Tennis Federation was in breach of the ITF Constitution by interfering with international sporting practice.”
In voting to suspend the Tunisians, the statement also said the board “was not satisfied with the case put forward by the Tunisian Tennis Federation.”
Jaziri withdrew from the tournament a day before his quarterfinals match against Weintraub, citing a knee injury.
But Jaziri’s brother Amir, who also is his coach, told the French news agency AFP that he pulled out under orders from the Tunisian Tennis Federation not to play an Israeli. An email ordering Jaziri to pull out of the match was published by Tunisia’s state news agency. The Tunisian Sports and Youth Ministry denied making such a demand.
It is believed to be the first time that a player has refused to play against an Israeli in international tennis play, according to reports.