Tennis authorities strip Wimbledon of ranking points
Readers would know that I am a fan of keeping politics out of sport. Unfortunately, I seem to be in the minority as the politicisation of everything continues uninterrupted.
Sport remains no exception. Wimbledon has joined the two-minute hate against Russian and Belarussian sporting teams and individuals by banning players from these countries from competing at the upcoming championships in June.
There are a number of highly-ranked Russian players in particular on both the men’s and women’s tennis circuit but most affected is current US Open Champion and Aussie Open runner-up the past two years, Daniil Medvedev.
To say this decision is absurd is an understatement.
The ostensible justification for it is that Medvedev and others haven’t sufficiently condemned the Russians as is seemingly now required in western society. (Ukraine has joined so-called Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Global Warming as the pillars of Maoist woke lunacy that have infected our major corporations and institutions!).
In reality, Medvedev and his compatriots have absolutely no influence over what Russian President Vladimir Putin does.
Moreover, this demand from Wimbledon also potentially places Medvedev in physical danger. He is between a rock and a hard place. If he criticises Putin more forcefully, then he risks him and his family being targeted by Russian goons controlled by Putin.
Yet if he doesn’t, he is ostracised by the likes of Wimbledon.
Tennis authorities to the rescue
Thankfully, unlike FIFA et al, the people who run the ATP, WTA and ITF actually have some common sense.
They have responded to Wimbledon’s decision by stripping any ranking points from being issued to those competing. This has the effect of reducing the tournament from probably the most illustrious of the four majors to the equivalent of some exhibition tournament. Four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka has already withdrawn from Wimbledon as a result.
Serves Wimbledon right, in my view.
As the ATP noted:
The ability for players of any nationality to enter tournaments based on merit, and without discrimination, is fundamental to our Tour.
The decision by Wimbledon to ban Russian and Belarusian players from competing in the UK this summer undermines this principle and the integrity of the ATP ranking system. It is also inconsistent with our rankings agreement.
The WTA said something similar and both should be applauded for taking this stand.
Sport is about bringing people of all races, colours and creeds together to enjoy the spectacle, root for their team, celebrate their victory or commiserate their defeat, and then get on with life.
Sport is meant to be a release from the problems of real life, whether they are money troubles, relationship troubles, unemployment, politics, etc. By politicising sport, you destroy the ability of people to get some release by watching their favourite player or team and perhaps forget their troubles for a few hours.
A disease on civil society
Unfortunately, sport isn’t the only non-political activity that is rapidly being politicised. Maoist struggle sessions (read: diversity, equity and inclusion rubbish) are now part and parcel of working at any major corporation, especially one which is American, while the left’s attempts to insert government into every aspect of life proceeds apace.
By politicising something, the left’s goal is to persuade people to plead for government to intervene rather than acting as adults and finding a solution themselves. This helps the left increase the size and scope of government, with individual liberty further declining as a result.
For those of us to support liberty rather than authoritarianism, the proper response is to depoliticise everything.
The ATP and WTA’s responses to Wimbledon’s actions are a good start. Let’s hope more sporting authorities follow their lead.