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ATP scraps Israel tennis tourney over Gaza conflict

JTA

August 4, 2014 | 3:24 pm

<em>Center court of the venue of the 2011 Israel tennis championship (credit: Assaf Yekuel, via Wikimedia Commons)</em>

Center court of the venue of the 2011 Israel tennis championship (credit: Assaf Yekuel, via Wikimedia Commons)

The inaugural ATP Negev Israel Open, scheduled to take place near Tel Aviv next month, was canceled due to the Gaza conflict.

The ATP announced the cancellation on Monday hours before the announcement of a 72-hour cease-fire and negotiations toward a truce between Israel and Hamas.

The Negev Israel Open, which was scheduled for Sept. 15-21 in Ramat Hasharon near Tel Aviv, would have been the first ATP World Tour event held in Israel since 1996. The tournament had a $1 million purse.

“We regret the ATP World Tour event in Tel Aviv, Israel, will not take place this year,” said Chris Kermode, the ATP’s executive chairman and president. “Sadly, we do not feel we can proceed as planned given the situation in the region.

“Ensuring the security of our players, fans and all those involved in organizing a world-class event is our No. 1 priority. We hope to be back in Tel Aviv next year. In the meantime, and much more importantly, we hope for a swift return to peace in the region.”

Asaf Tochmeir, chairman of the Israeli Tennis Association, said the association “regrets” the decision, and noted that it had “done everything to ensure a successful ATP event.”

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