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Peer protest planned in Auckland

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Originally published on: 20/12/10 10:42

Organisers of next month’s ASB Classic are braced for another protest against Israeli-born Shahar Peer, even though the 23-year-old isn’t expected to feature at the Auckland tournament on January 3.

Protesters have followed Peer in the past because of Israel’s policies towards Palestinians, and the right-hander – who rose to a career-high No.13 in the world this October – was again targeted at the Auckland Tennis Centre last year.

And the Global Peace and Justice Auckland group have said that a protest would be held on January 3 – on the first day of this year’s event – on the basis that they “expect Peer to be playing.”

Though Peer is not on Auckland’s official playing list yet, spokesman John Minto said the group expect her to be granted a last-minute wild card entry “to avoid early publicity and associated controversy.”

However, a spokesperson for the Auckland tournament said Peer was not expected to feature at the Classic – which is set to include the likes of Maria Sharapova and Svetlana Kuznetsova – because she is due to play in the Brisbane International at the same time.

“Peer hasn’t entered our tournament, but she is on the official list for Brisbane, which is on at the same time,” they said.

In 2010, Peer’s second round match with Magdalena Rybarikova was interrupted for 15 minutes as a result of protesters outside the stadium, but the Jerusalem-born right-hander (who undertook compulsory military service in Israel aged 19) proved defiant.

“They’re doing what they want,” she said after winning the match. “Everyone can do whatever they want, as long as I’m winning I don’t care.”

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