Dudi Sela and Deniz Khazaniuk ended 2016 on a high as they lifted the men and women’s titles at the Israeli tennis championships – but the future of one of Israel’s top ever tennis players was cast into doubt.
The annual event, held in Ra’anana, saw Sela claim a fourth consecutive win, but it was Khanzaniuk’s win, in the absence of Shahar Peer, which led to speculation the latter could soon be hanging up her racket for good.
Khanzaniuk was the number one seed in the draw, due to the absence of Peer and Julia Glushko, and it’s the continued absence of the former, who was ranked as high as 11 in the world just six years ago, which has led to suggestion that she could soon retire from the game.
Dropping down to 1,152 in the rankings having not played since February, Israel Tennis Association CEO Shlomo Glickstein said: “She hasn’t played tennis for 10 months. First it was an injury and after that it was other stuff. I’m in contact with her and her father and I think that deep inside she still thinks she will come back at some stage. That doesn’t seem realistic to me. She will surely find the proper way to say goodbye.”
Taking full advantage of the two senior female players, 22-year-old Khanzaniuk, who’s ranked 247 in the world rankings, beat Maya Tahan 6-1, 6-1 in the final. She said: “I’ve been practicing for years to win this title, this is a dream come true. I really wanted to win this title and I hope I can make it into the Australian Open qualifiers.”
Also hoping to get a recall to the Israeli Federation Cup team, having fallen out with both Peer and Glushko following an interview she gave four years ago, where she criticised them, she said: “It’s not my decision and it is difficult to forget what happened in the past,” she said. “I represent the country when I’m on tour, but doing so for the national team is different.”
In securing his seventh title, Sela is now just two short of equalling the record number of wins, jointly-held by Shlomo Glickstein and Yehoshua Shalem. Defeating first-time finalist Daniel Cukierman 6-3, 6-4, who had beaten Amir Weintraub in the semi-finals, Sela went through the tournament without losing a set, and the 31-year-old, who’s ranked 96 in the world, said: “I’m feeling good and I’m hoping I’ll have a good 2017 on the ATP Tour. I experienced a bit of a drop after the Olympic Games last summer and I’m hoping to return to the top 50 next year.”
Cukierman, 21, said: “As a child I watched Sela in Davis Cup matches and it was a dream for me to play him in the final.”
Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.
Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.
For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.
Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.
You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.
100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...
Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.
There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.
In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.
Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.
In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.
Voice of our community to wider society
The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.
We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.