Tunisia’s tennis federation ordered the country’s top player to withdraw from a match against an Israeli player at a tournament in Uzbekistan.
Malek Jaziri had been scheduled to play Israel’s Amir Weintraub on Friday in the quarterfinals of an ATP Challenger tournament in Tashkent. He withdrew before the match and Weintraub advanced to the semifinals of the lower-tier event.
Tunisia’s state news agency says the national federation sent an email to Jaziri that stated ”you are ordered not to play against the Israeli player.”
Sports ministry spokesman Sadok Touati confirmed to The Associated Press that the federation sent the email after consulting the ministry. The federation president could not be reached for comment.
Arab countries have for the past decades observed to varying degrees boycotts against Israeli athletes in protest over the situation of the Palestinians. Shlomo Glickstein, director of Israel’s tennis association, said in a statement he was ”sad these things still happen.”