Sports, team or individual, are people competing against each other. It is absolutely wonderful to watch gifted athletes as they compete. Their natural abilities, honed by dedicated training, their mental capacities to adjust to the events of the moment, and their ability to draw from an inner reserve is inspiring. Where these gifted individuals were born, their political beliefs if any, have little to do with their natural abilities. If they were born in the United States, they have been exposed to different sports than if they were born in a third world country where succor might have been the sport to which they were mostly exposed.
Most sports are international today. It was not that long ago that tennis was dominated by athletes from the United States and Australia. That is where tennis was mostly played. Today, tennis has become a truly international game. Players from Europe, from Asia, from North America, and from South America rise in the rankings. Players from countries with dictators and players from countries where open elections are held, rise, and fall in the rankings.
I for one, and I hope I am in the majority of tennis fans, have my favorites based on their abilities, their attitudes, and their dedication to the game as I perceive it. For instance, both Serena Williams and I are Americans. She is my least favorite tennis player ever. She is a gifted athlete. She has a remarkable ability to come from behind, but she has a terrible attitude and is a poor sport. On the other hand, Stephie Graph was my favorite player. She is a gifted athlete, was very resourceful, and was a model for other athletes. She was born in Germany. We all have our favorite players based on their individual qualities and not their place of birth.
The most prestigious of all Grand Slam Tennis Tournaments has made a very unfortunate ruling. “Wimbledon bans Russian and Belarusian players — including No. 2 Medvedev.” This ruling has nothing to do with their athletic abilities or any other individual characteristic; it is based only on where they were born, their citizenship.
The political policies of Belarus and Russia have been very consistent over the years. Dictators head their governments. The tennis players have little if any impact on the polices of their government. Many of the players who were born in Belarus and Russia no longer live full time in those countries, yet Wimbledon will not allow gifted and deserving individual athletes to compete in a sporting event based on the abilities of the individual, separated from world political events.
It is the tennis fans who wish to see the best players compete, that are being denied, no that are being cheated. I would hope Wimbledon would become a tennis tournament again and not an arbiter of world events.
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