Venus Williams won her 40th singles title Saturday, defeating Virginie Razzano of France 6-4, 6-2 in the final of the Dubai Tennis Championship.
During the trophy presentation, Williams spoke about Shahar Peer, the Israeli player who was denied entry into the United Arab Emirates for the tournament because of what organizers called security concerns.
“I felt like I had to talk about her,” Williams said. “I thought it was brave of her to come here and try and play despite knowing that it is not going to be easy for her. My dad grew up in an area where if you spoke too much, it was your life. So I felt I had a small opportunity to say something where everyone will listen.”
Peer was denied entry into the country a week ago. The WTA fined organizers of the tournament a record $300,000 Friday, saying it will compensate Peer and ensure other Israeli players aren’t shut out of future events.
“I am not here to rock any boat or upset people, I am just here to do things that are right,” Williams said. “And I think right things are already happening next week and right things will happen next year.”