Service of Two Sides of a Tennis Court

May 2nd, 2022

Categories: Competition, Politics, Sports, War


Image by Bessi from Pixabay

Wimbledon is off limits to Russian and Belarusian tennis players because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. According to NPR’s Rachel Treisman, “U.K. Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston said last month that ‘nobody flying the flag for Russia should be allowed or enabled’ to play in it.”

The players impacted are, as ranked by the Association of Tennis Professionals, the top two in men’s tennis, Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev, as well as two other men in the top 30 as well as the 4th ranked woman, Aryna Sabalenka.

Last week I heard valid arguments pro and con from former sportscaster, now radio morning show host Len Berman, and guest Arthur Caplan, PhD, director of NYU Langone’s Division of Medical Ethics.

Dr. Caplan said that we can’t let the players show up at Wimbledon or at any sports event and he hoped that the US Open follows suit. Russia has committed war crimes, shelled apartment buildings, leveled another country and given that we aren’t going to war we have only two potential weapons: financial and turning Putin into a pariah.

Len disagreed with Dr. C and in a rare show of solidarity his co-host at the WOR 710 morning radio show, Michael Riedel, agreed. Beman felt that it’s not right to take it out on [star] players who have nothing to do with the war.

Dr. Caplan responded that he fears that Putin et al will say “look at what our country can achieve–” He’ll make something of it.

What do you think? Should politics impact whether athletes compete in international competition?


Image by anais_anais29 from Pixabay

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4 Responses to “Service of Two Sides of a Tennis Court”

  1. Martha T Takayama Said:

    I am very cynical about the Olympics in general for a multitude of reasons. They are like a layer cake, essentially all about commerce, power and political influence with a thick frosting
    corruption, murderous behavior (Munich), and political posturing and intrigue. I do not see any reason whey athletes representing countries with policies such as genocide should
    be permitted to compete in them.

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Martha,

    I love the Olympics. Pretty much the only sports competitions I watch on TV. At one point it was an honorable gathering of the best athletes but as with all things it seems, there’s always someone to spoil something good. But the athletes are incredible. In golf it was Tiger Woods, still adored by millions, who behaved abominably, like a spoiled child, in a sport where players once conducted themselves by a code of calm and manners. Same with tennis and those like Jimmy Connors who threw tantrums on tournament courts–unheard of behavior for decades before. Although this behavior seems to attract the most fans, I doubt lovers of the sports stop watching or playing if they find abhorrent the actions of a few.

  3. Amanda Ripanykhazova Said:

    Surely the solution is as nearly adopted by the Olympics? Let the athletes compete if they are innocent enough, but dont let the political entities (their countries) look as if they are benefiting. Call their team the “Independent Olympic Athletes”, Not Russia. They could be called ‘Independent Open Athletes’

    Highlighting that might drive it home to the populations that they just invaded a neighboring country for no apparent reason.

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Amanda,

    I feel comfortable with your solution. Make clear that the athletes, who have spent thousands of hours to excel, represent only themselves. Don’t punish them for the country they come from.

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