Yalla yalla, Shahar Peer!!

Playing in her third US Open, No. 18 seed Shahar Peer has become the first Israeli woman in tournament history to reach the quarterfinals and is truly becoming a force to reckon with on the court. In addition, while making steady progress up the tennis rankings she is also making a strong impression on the hearts and minds of tennis fans.

The 20-year-old Peer, who is also in the second year of her mandatory Israeli military service, displays an on-court tenacity that equals that of any of the other top players. Her focus during matches is unwavering and she is all business on each and every point.

Peer trumped 4th round opponent Agnieszka Radwanska, who had but to credit Peer’s play:

“I was also playing with player top 20, also seeded. Yeah, exactly the same feeling (as against Sharapova),” she said. “But, yeah, she (Peer) was playing very good today. Sometimes have to lose. Anyway, fourth round is good for me, yeah. First of all, I beat a No. 2 of this tournament. It was very close in the first set. In the second set, she was playing much better. I couldn’t do my best… Also very good forehand, backhand, all sides. She not missing like easy balls. So tough player.

Unfortunately, Peer was ousted yesterday by some nondescript russian blonde (named Anna Chakvetadze) — still, Peer’s quarterfinals experience was very good:

“I’m kind of happy of the way I was playing,” Peer said of her run to the quarterfinals, “but not happy that I lost today.”

The crowd was unbelievable,”Peer added. “I had so much support here and I really, really enjoyed it.”

One of the spectators was the actor Gene Wilder [née Jerome Silberman], who played Willy Wonka in the 1971 film, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and appeared on the big screen while the deejay played “Candyman” during a second-set changeover.

Salem News

Peer had vocal backing [“Yalla, yalla!”] from the crowd at center court. Afterward, she said she would return to Israel to perform her compulsory military service, which she said made tennis look easy.


Tears for Peer:

Oded Teig, Peer’s coach, consoled his sobbing pupil after the loss, reminding Peer how she matched her best Grand Slam showing from this year’s Australian Open despite struggles with injury and recent losses.

“I was pissed and everything and I was crying and he said, ‘Look at the positive things. You had the worst two months in your career, which is not a long one. You played so bad and you come to a Grand Slam and you make the quarterfinals.’

“Of course you could win and you had a good opportunity, but I have to look at the positive time and take those things. That’s what’s going to help my career.”

With a victory, Peer, 20, would have risen to 13th in the WTA rankings, the highest spot for any Israeli man or woman. But she is confident a jump into the top 10 is coming soon.

“I think it’s just a matter of time when I will get there because I’m improving things, and in this tournament I was playing really good,” Peer said.

“I came to this tournament injured. My joints between my ribs were inflamed and I didn’t play for five days so actually it was kind of strange I was doing so well here. I didn’t know if I was going on the court for my first match.”

She is going back to Israel and finish the final weeks of military service.

“For me it was really important to give as much as I can to the country because I get so much support,” Peer said. “It’s not that it hurts my career, so I was happy to go to the Army.”

She spends most of her Army time on secretarial duties, having only handled a weapon in basic training when she slept among 17 girls in a tent.

“When I go there they give me different jobs. Whatever they have on the certain day to ask me to do, I’m doing,” she said.

“The basic training gave me a different perspective on what they do. We learned how to shoot. I guess that was the best part. It was a lot of fun.”

“I’m not doing the job where I should carry the weapon with me.”

Racquet rivals across the net might disagree.

Hindustan Times

Peer was awarded Player of the Day on Day 8.

Interview 1, 2


About this entry