Peer, Shahar (1987–)

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Peer, Shahar

Shahar Peer is a promising young Israeli tennis player who is considered one of the best Israeli tennis players ever. She achieved her highest ranking in the Women's Tennis Association (WTA), 15th place, in January 2007, an Israeli record for women players, which Peer shared with another accomplished tennis player, Anna Smash-nova. She was also the first Israeli woman to reach the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam tournament.


Peer was born in Jerusalem on 1 May 1987; when she was an infant, her family moved to the nearby town of Maccabim. Her father, Dov, worked in the high-tech electronics industry, and her mother, Aliza, was a physical education teacher. Peer has two older siblings, a brother, Shlomi, and a sister, Shani. Both of them took up tennis as a hobby when they were children. Inspired by her siblings, Shahar started playing tennis when she was only six years old.

In late December 2001, Peer won the girls' title at the American Orange Bowl International Tennis Championships for youth. She turned professional in 2004,

and her first major achievement followed shortly, when she won the junior championship in the 2004 Australian Open tournament.

In spite of her demanding schedule, Peer attended high school, and graduated in July 2005. Since army service is mandatory in Israel, Peer enlisted in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) on 30 October 2005. After completing three weeks of basic training, Peer was assigned to do administrative work as a part of her army service (compulsory service is flexible for professional athletes since they are allowed to travel and practice).

At the age of seventeen, Peer began seeing a clinical psychologist in order to help her develop the emotional capacity required of a professional athlete, especially in regard to dealing with stressful situations. "I didn't want to see a therapist to start with; I assumed that therapy was only good for troubled people, but then I decided to try it out and I realized that it helps me mentally," she explained in an interview.


Although still at the beginning of her career, Peer has already made an impact on professional tennis. In 2005 she reached the quarterfinals of six WTA tournaments. Her major breakthrough came in 2006. In January of that year Peer made her first semifinal appearance at the Canberra International Tournament, where she lost to Anabel Medina Garrigues of Spain. At the end of January 2006, Peer became the top female Israeli tennis player, after being ranked 43rd by the WTA.

In February 2006, Peer won her first title, at the Pattaya Women's Open tournament in Thailand. In April 2006 she was a member of the Israeli team that played in the Fed Cup playoffs in Bulgaria (the Fed Cup is the most important tennis tournament for national women's teams, organized by the International Tennis Federation). Peer led her team through a series of important wins to an impressive triumph in the finals. She also marked a notable personal milestone when, for the first time in her career, she defeated a top-twenty player, Ana Ivanovic of Serbia.

In the following weeks, Peer kept up her winning streak. In May 2006 she won the Prague Tournament, where she also won the doubles title with the French player Marion Bartoli, and at the end of that month she won the Istanbul Tournament.

In the summer of 2006 she marked another professional highlight, when she defeated a top-ten player, the Russian Elena Dementieva, in the French Open. Peer made it to the fourth round of that tournament, where she lost to the former Swiss champion Martina Hingis. Consequently, she rose in the rankings to 25th place. Peer also reached the fourth round of the 2006 U.S. Open, but lost to Justine Henin Hardenne of Belgium, who was then ranked second in the world.


At the Australian Open in January 2007, Peer made history by becoming the first Israeli woman to reach the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam tournament, after defeating Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia, who was then ranked 4th. Her victories spurred considerable excitement in Israel. Israeli prime minister EHUD OLMERT even chose to commence the weekly cabinet meeting by applauding her performance. In the quarterfinal she was defeated in a long and exhausting game by eventual champion Serena Williams. In February 2007 Peer made it to the finals of the Memphis Tournament, where she was promptly defeated by Venus Williams.


Name: Shahar Peer

Birth: 1987, Jerusalem, Israel

Family: Single

Nationality: Israeli

Education: High school diploma, Maccabim-Re'ut High School, 2005


  • 2004: Wins junior championship, Australian Open
  • 2005: Reaches quarterfinals in six Women's Tennis Association tournaments
  • 2006: Wins titles at Pattaya, Prague, and Istanbul tournaments; reaches fourth round, French Open; member of victorious Israeli national women's team, Fed Cup playoffs
  • 2007: Reaches quarterfinals, Australian Open


Peer is a rising talent in the world of professional tennis. She is considered an intense competitor, who covers the court well and changes speeds cleverly. She also received a great deal of international media attention since she competed professionally while still in the army. She was often asked in interviews about her military experience and her first-rate skills as a sniper. "I don't know if it's from tennis or whatever, but I really liked it," she once commented in an interview.


Clarey, Christopher. "Nadal Clears His Throat and Extends His Streak." New York Times, 4 June 2006.

Fed Cup's Official Web site. Available from

Passa, Dennis. "Israel's Peer Impresses in Loss to Serena Williams." Associated Press, 23 January 2007.

"Shahar Peer Wins. Her Psychologist Explains How." YNET. Updated 17 February 2007. Available from

Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. Available from

                                            Or Rabinowitz