Saturday, February 21, 2009

Andy Roddick Speaks Out

Memphis Tennis

That's my guy:

Andy Roddick won't defend his title in Dubai next week because he doesn't agree with the decision to deny Israeli Shahar Peer a visa to play in a women's tournament.

"There were a lot of factors why I should probably go, and obviously having played well there doesn't make it any easier," Roddick said after beating fellow American Sam Querrey 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 to reach the semifinals of the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships.

The mixing of politics and sports was a big part of Roddick's decision to pull out of Dubai where he won his second of three titles in 2008. Roddick said he has enjoyed himself when visiting the United Arab Emirates but was disappointed to see the government make a decision that reflects poorly on a great tournament.

"I don't think you make political statements through sports," Roddick said.

That wasn't so difficult, now was it? As far as I'm aware, Andy is the only Jewish player in the top rung of men's tennis and he's always been outspoken, so this doesn't come as a great surprise. But it seems like such a courageous stand given the deafening silence of the other top players.

And he gets Lleyton Hewitt in the semifinals? Talk about an ancient rivarly.


Helen W said...

Bravo Andy!

It is worth noting that of all the men in the draw, he has the most to lose by way of ranking points, since he won the tournament last year.

Regardless of the reasons Roger & Rafa had for withdrawing, I wish they could have at least made a statement on principle.

jonvoight said...

totally agree with you, i think andy is showing a lot of character in standing up for what he thinks is right. but is he jewish? i can't find any documentation for that.

Craig Hickman said...

jonvoight, I'm just repeating what I feel like I've known forever. If he's not, perhaps his people will write to me to correct my post.

(Yeah. Right.) (wink)

Helen W said...

I don't think he is. I did a brief google search, and here's a page from MySpace saying his religion is "Christian - other".

Craig Hickman said...

Ah, the Google.

Helen W, that source also says Andy is a Scorpio. He's a Virgo.

Unless or until he or someone in his inner circle comes out and says otherwise, I'll stick to what I've always "known".

Helen W said...

Craig, ya mean you don't believe everything you read on the Internet???

Craig Hickman said...


tangerine said...

"As far as I'm aware, Andy is the only Jewish player in the top rung of men's tennis and he's always been outspoken."

Did you mean Andy Ram? Roddick is not Jewish at all, he's very much a WASP.

Anyway I'm really proud of Andy. He may never win another slam title again but it's small moments like this that say a lot about a person's character and reminds me while I'll be a life-long fan of his, with or without that Wimbledon title. ;)

Craig Hickman said...

Roddick is not Jewish at all, he's very much a WASP.


Where did I get this from then?

Hmmmm.... I'll have to reflect.

MMT said...

He may or may not be Jewish, but one thing's for sure - he's a hell of a man.

Karen said...

I just read Venus' comments that she made at the trophy ceremony and all I can say is that this woman is my all time favourite tennis player. To stand up in front of a huge crowd and address an issue that is so topical and to state her views so clearly and articulate so beautifully. She is a credit to people everywhere and a credit to her sport. Go Venus. You did not hide behind an injury and pull out and you told it to people's faces. I take back everything I said about you. I understand that she will be meeting with organisers of IW upon her return to the States. Could it be that she will be playing Indian Wells. The time for healing is now.

b said...


Great that Andy made a statement.... It's also worth noting that Rafa was one of few, or perhaps the only, players who made a statement condemning the action against Gaza.

I don't think he's shied away from political statements in the past.

This is an international group. Why do people assume all the players agree or disagree about the action taken. The ATP didn't suspend the SA tournament for refusing Ashe a visa.

Was nice that Venus chose to make her feelings known, although she was really under no obligation to do so.

b said...

Would like to note that it is entirely possible that Andy is both Jewish and Christian.... An ethnic Jew could be of any religion.

Helen W said...

b, I am claiming that they have not made a statement at all on a controversial issue affecting tennis. I am not commenting on what side they should take (although I do support one side).

In a way, Federer has made a statement by the fact that he has chosen to have a second home in Dubai. Actions, after all, speak louder than words. Speaking only for myself, were I able to have a second home anywhere on the globe, I would not choose to live in a country that outlaws gays (even though I myself am straight).

As far as any of them making polticial statements, my (limited) observation is that few of them do, with which I have no problem at all. But when the issue is specific to their own sport, or sports in general, and they are members of the players council, I don't think it unreasonable to expect them to express their views.

From the commentary I have seen on this blog, there seems to be two separate camps. One group feels that it is wrong to abrogate the terms of a contract that you have willingly entered into, period. The other feels that since the UAE has legitimate reason to be aggrieved with Israel, any action by them is justified. MMT eloquently stated exactly where that position can lead.

Craig Hickman said...

MMT said...

He may or may not be Jewish, but one thing's for sure - he's a hell of a man.


Just wanted to put that in print again. ;)

Graf_sampras said...

now maybe -- that andy has taken a political stand ...

he might WIDEN it and take a stand on ZIONIST expansionism on STOLEN land in palestine? he might want to do a clinic for little palestinian kids in GAZA to rebuild some "open" court -- before Israel bulldozes them again -- to ., the words of a Jewish Scholar on Jewish History....exposing the myths of jewishness...

"Show everyone in the middle east who is the boss"?.

now THAT would be a REAL stand....

tangerine said...

"now maybe -- that andy has taken a political stand ..."

This was not a political stand of East vs West or Israel vs Arab Nations or USA politics or whatever. This was a stand for a player who was denied a visa because of her nationality which goes against ITF rules of play, that is all.

Please don't politicize this issue, I understand it's hard not to, but I think Andy would have taken this stand if it were any other player denied access by any other country.

Graf_sampras said...

to tangerine. do you realize you are contradicting yourself?

you are asking me to "please not politicize" this issue....
what DID you think THIS is issue was all about?

what DID you think the concepts of "justice and equality" and "rules" in the WTA to allow all players without discrimination IS all about?

just a "game of tennis?"

andy DID take a political stand ONCE he showed support for did the WTA by its very existence with its RULES of "non-discrimination" and THAT speaks and is intimately related to whatever the reactions were from dubai for whatever reasons were such as their population - arabs- reacting TO the gaza events.

one can not put up artificial walls where walls should not and do not exist between "non-political" tennis and tennis that HAS become embroiled in politics -- with onLY ONE difference...that THIS time

instead of JUST the "rules" of WTA talking abotu justice and equality and therefore "equal participation" or openness -

it has crashed RIGHT INTO the political realities of the middle east in which israel IS centerstage in the political situation of the economically and politically undermined palestinians -- in order to benefit israel.

Graf_sampras said...

the way some of you are saying or telling me to "not politicize" the issue is like putting up a wall so that one might not have to LOOK ....and find something even more inconvenient than the prefered "cause celebre in tennis" about Peer's being handed a discriminatory order to avoid seeing that whether it was intented to "also punish her for being israeli" or just a result of already standard "nondiplomatic" relations between the two countries for HISTORICALLY CLEAR reasons: that is, the theft of arab land by Zionists and their attendant subjugation of palestinians from whom they stole land -- while at the same time being touted by the USA especially as a "paragon of democracy" ....( i mean what a contradiction -- a "democracy" that was created by THEFT and maintatined by subjugation ) .....

the way you do that is like the way Israel builds its own "berlin wall" to "keep the rockets and terrorists out"

but IN REALITY -- it is the RESULT of what israel has DONE TO palestinians ...

trying to detach this from its political reality and roots -- is like saying Peer has no mommy.

sorry -- it's just not THAT simple. nor as neatly arranged as people would prefer..even I would prefer....but it can't be that way.