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The Championships

by on June 15, 2022

Tennis might have originated in France but it is very much a British sport. Of the four majors each year it is Wimbledon that is called The Championships.

This year, in the midst of Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine, Wimbledon chose to ban Russian players from competing; Belarusian players were also banned because Belarus supports Russia.

Rather than resolving an international dispute, this created more conflict in the tennis community and the broader international community that watches tennis.

It’s clear that Wimbledon banned Russian and Belarusian players because the British government gave them no choice. Both the WTA and the ATP quickly issued statements condemning the decision, pointing out that preventing a player to compete based on nationality is against their guidelines. Very few professional tennis players were pleased with the decision.

Some would suggest that Wimbledon – with a little pushing the British government – was engaging in ‘sports diplomacy.’ The Championships at Wimbledon was merely trying to pressure Russia to stop the invasion of Ukraine in the same sense that tennis in Apartheid South Africa was an issue.

If Wimbledon is banning Russian players because Russia (not the players) attacked a sovereign country this raised the question for many people why players from the U.S. aren’t banned for the wars the U.S. fights, along with players from countries allied with the U.S. in these wars. Most of Europe, inducing Britain, France, Germany, and The Netherlands, plus Australia and New Zealand have all contributed troops or aid to unending wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other places. The answer is that there would be no tennis players left.

The WTA and ATP doesn’t control the Grand Slams. But the two organizations representing the players do control the points that determine rankings. Individually, in response to the ban, both organizations announced that no points would be awarded during Wimbledon.

There’s still a lot of money to be made at Wimbledon, with the winner winning about $3,000,000. Without the points awarded, some top players indicated that they no interest in playing despite the money.

Wimbledon has made a mockery of itself. Everyone calls this a lose-lose situation. At this point Wimbledon has become nothing more than a glorified exhibition tournament. I’m not even sure why any players would play; the players should support one another and if some can’t play because of their nationality all the players should refuse to go.

From → Entertainment, World

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