Opinion: Why Wimbledon’s Russian player ban is the wrong call
I have gone back and forth on whether the AELTC made the right decision. But after plenty of conversations with people at both ends of this political — because it is political — argument, I have reached a conclusion. The club made the wrong call.
Next, the club mentions its “duties to the players, to our community and to the broader UK public as a British sporting institution.” I am intrigued by this portion of the statement on numerous levels. How are Wimbledon’s duties to the players different to other professional tennis tournaments around the world? Yes, we all know that Wimbledon is unique, it’s special — and don’t they like to remind us of that point.
No doubt, Wimbledon is extremely prestigious. It is one of the four grand slams that are played every single year — except for during world wars and pandemics. But truthfully, to the players, it’s another tournament.
And how about Wimbledon’s duties to the community and broader public? All the other professional tennis tournaments that have taken place around the world also have a similar duty, one would think — especially the big events across Europe these past few months. None of these events — including the French Open, another one of the four “majors “in tennis, and the Italian Open in Rome — have had any issues relating to this war or to individual players from Russia and Belarus in particular.
The International Tennis Federation (ITF), the governing body of world tennis, oversees the Olympic tennis competition, as well as organizing annual team competitions by country. It has, like most other major sports, appropriately banned all Russian and Belarusian teams from international competitions.
It’s not just the top players, but countless other professionals who have lost their opportunity to play Wimbledon this year — and possibly for years to come. Is that really fair?
In two of the men’s grass court events leading up to Wimbledon, Medvedev reached consecutive finals — one in the Netherlands and another tournament in Germany. There were no protests, no disruptions, even with the participation and success of a player like Medvedev.
Yes, Wimbledon is bigger, more global and prestigious than those events. But I find it increasingly unlikely, given what we have seen in other sporting events all over the world, that if Wimbledon were to allow Russian and Belarusian players to compete, it would face issues it could not handle.
More often than not, Wimbledon has been ahead of the curve in just about everything it has done to promote the game and its event. This time however, it has served up a double fault.
Quoted from Various Sources
Published for: Ipodifier