I know we’ve had a quiet week and I didn’t stir up any emotions, so I figured I would give you all something to discuss…

Wimbledon has stated that athletes who list their nationality as Russian are not allowed to compete at the tournament this year.

The French, which is happening now, has no such rule in place, and I don’t think the US Open has made a firm decision as to what they will do.

If you are from Russia and are a professional tennis player, which is an individual sport, should you be allowed to play at tennis tournaments?

Here’s my opinion:

When you watch a match on TV, the players name is usually listed next to a picture of the flag of the country and very often the name of the country. People in the stands often carry flags of the countries that the players represent. If you specifically cite where the athlete is from, continually refer to them in ways such as “The American Isner” and allow the flags in the stadium, you have the right to ban an athlete from a country, because you have created a situation where you are referencing the country not the athlete. If you do not ever reference a country, then it’s OK for the athlete to compete.

What do you think about Russian athletes competing at the French Open? What do you think about them not competing at Wimbledon?

Is there nationalism in sports? How closely related are the athletes and the countries they are from?

65 thoughts on “Is it National?

  1. Such a complicated situation for the sports world. For team sports and also for track and field events, Russian and Belarusian athletes have been banned. Tennis is actually a bit of an outlier by not having banned them. There are no easy answers, but I am looking forward to seeing what your readers think!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m afraid the basic error here is assuming that sport is about sport. For many years the American college system and the Communist nations went head to head for national prestige in the Olympics. There were boycotts, there were doping scandals and eventually, because it’s such a political area, the British government started funding sport via the lottery. They didn’t do it for fun, or the sporting ethos, but because doing well in sport makes the nation feel better.

    In 1924 Eric Liddell refused to run on a Sunday because he had religious principles. In 2022 world tennis is fudging the issue because they don’t want to interfere with the income and the ranking points of their pampered players. Naomi Osaka, I see, is considering skipping Wimbledon because there is no advantage to her without ranking points.

    So, another question for you – do we condone war crimes or do we let Naomi Osaka gain ranking points?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Here’s my problem…do we separate the individual from the nation? I mean…look at the farce that was the ROC….I mean…let’s talk ridiculous. I am an American an, yet I don’t agree with much of the stupidity that abounds…should I be judged as LA, American by birth, or what I believe in?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. These days most world class British athletes are the product of a funding system that basically makes them employees of the nation. The success they achieve is due to a number of factors, including being a freak of nature and hard work, but they are essentially part of the state’s desire to make people feel good and raise our profile within the world. Same goes for the various programmes run by other countries.

        It’s difficult separating individuals from nationality, with each sport being slightly different. I have sympathy for people who work hard at their sport and suffer due to politics, but I also have sympathy for people who work hard and get invaded.

        As for your views – I prefer to judge the view, not the nationality, though in truth I just like to read the blogs by the woman with the cute dog . . .

        I’m generally quite easy-going,but have decided views on sports stars. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. There’s a bunch of ways of looking at that. Personally, I hate where college sports has gone…especially football and basketball. But you can think of it like this…very few college athletes make it in into professional sports, if you want to go for numbers. And no matter what…we can’t produce an Usain Bolt, and as strong as the US is, the us can’t compete with countries who do nurture their athletes…look at US mens soccer and compare it to other places…

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  3. The tennis player has worked all his or her life to compete nationally. Currently, the Russian President is causing much grief for people in Ukraine and worldwide. Doesn’t affect the athletes path to athletic success.

    The tennis player may or may not support Russian President decisions. Yes, he represents and rules the country but that doesn’t mean the tennis player agrees with his decisions and actions. It does not (to me) impact the sport or its ability to play/compete on a world stage.

    I certainly openly disagree with many Canadian political decisions. I still love my country and stand by my flag.

    I vote let them play.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I think not allowing the Russian athletes to compete is one thing that would upset Putin. I don’t think he cares if his people are starving or his soldiers are getting killed. I’m purely guessing on this. Also, the Russians violate doping rules nearly every Olympics. Recently in swimming, a lot of Russian swimmers were tested and strangely all the vials were broken from their blood tests.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Where do we stop? Should US athletes be able to participate considering all of the war crimes our government is guilty of? Pretty sure we just drone murdered a family not too long ago, for one example.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You know, it’s funny cause I just thought about this exact thought when I was on the bus…how we define war crimes, or injustices towards humans

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Whoever loses is called the war criminal. It’s all propaganda. It’s okay when we do it because we control the narrative and have long ago assigned a moral high ground that doesn’t actually exist when it comes to our warmongering government.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Well…if you really want to know how my mind works…I was thinking of Qs comment when I was at the Met, where I was looking at medieval art and I had just looked at this silver thing of david and Goliath, which made me think about injustices against those that are smaller or considered weaker, and then I got on the bus and was reading a memoir about this guy who took a gap year in 1989 right before T. Square, which made me think about all the things we can refer to as violations…leasing me to sort of echo your thoughts. My mind is a mysterious and strange thing…

        Liked by 3 people

  6. This is a difficult and complicated subject, I lean towards allowing athletes who have trained their whole lives to remain outside of politics and compete, but that’s not always the best solution. What I have more trouble with is men who identify as women competing in the women’s events. Hugs, C

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Oh that riles me. Had that athlete when male been a winner already it would then point to their athleticism. But they weren’t very good at their sport, until they transitioned and starting competing with women and breaking records. You change a genital, you change a body type, but if in fact you are an amazing athlete you can still win. Case in point being the swim meet where “she” was beaten by “him” (a female swimmer transitioning to male, who still has the body of a woman).

      Liked by 2 people

  7. I think based on what Russia (akaPutin) has done to Ukraine, then yes they should be banned. Plus, perhaps then the Russian citizens will realize they are being lied to. Right now Putin has prevented Russian citizens from knowing what is truly happening. My cousin who lives in Paris, signed up to Give sanctuary to a displaced Ukrainian. Since We face time all the time, I recently spoke to her Ukrainian house guest ( who, BTW, speaks excellent English). She said she has cousins living in Russia who won’t talk to her anymore because of Putin’s propaganda. They have no idea what’s really happening and are being lied to daily. They think it’s Ukraine causing the war. So maybe by canceling Russia, then Putin has to explain why they can’t participate. Perhaps that will open the eyes of the Russians.

    Remember the Munich massacre that happened in 1972? Those Israeli olympians were killed by Palestinian terrorists. Sports events have never been all about sports. Politics has always mattered. How about Hitler and the Olympics in 1936? After that episode, modification rules were made. So Politics does matter. You cannot reward terrorists of any kind. It’s sad for the athletes, yes. But, I think the bigger picture is more important. And banning what has now become a country run by a terrorist dictator is appropriate. That’s my opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t know if they will ever know what’s actually going on in Russia. But to be fair, I don’t know how much we really know either

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  8. Messy, messy, messy situation! Who among us, nation or individual, can claim the “high ground”? I will skirt this issue by reminding that competing or entertaining in other countries has been the ticket to defection and freedom for numerous people from despotic countries.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. No easy answers for this topic, for sure! I probably wouldn’t disagree with a decision that went either way. Since I’m no big sports fan or celebrity worshiper, I can’t evaluate how much impact an athlete competing or not will have on any given political situation. I expect the effect is minimal.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I think the question is where do we draw the line, right? For example, I agree with you and others that I don’t stand by everything the United States does; however, beginning a war (and pretending it’s not war), while literally ruining Ukrainian people’s lives, while also threatening to begin WWIII is a whole different matter.

    Because tennis is an international sport and ALWAYS an international contest, I think when your country decides to start wars, then you have to face the consequences of not being able to play an international sport.

    I also think this is the most that tennis associations can do right now to show support.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am divided because I see both sides of this. There are something like 44 Russian hockey players in the NHL now, and I’m betting at least a few are now playing in the play offs. While we can argue as to whether or not hockey is, in this instance, international, but it doesn’t resolve the question as to whether or not they should play. I guess, if they pay taxes in a Russia, and their portion of earnings go towards the government, can you make a case? I’m still wishy washy on this

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Olympics I agree because it’s clearly country based. Tennis I’m still iffy about…by a tennis player not competing…are we really hurting Russia?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I don’t think it’s about hurting Russia. It’s about making a statement, like we don’t tolerate X behavior and because you’re from there, you can’t play (in our international Open).

        Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m not so sure about punishing those who come from a country that is committing atrocities. Many of the people from Russia don’t agree with what’s being done (nor do they have the freedom to express that). Personally, I would hate to be grouped in with some of the atrocities occurring in this country. By no means similar to Russia but it’s the same premise.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I don’t think it’s right to ban players. I think that’s bullshit. A country is made up of people but not every one of those people think the same. Someone could argue that in regards to North Korea, but there are quite a lot of who defected and or died trying. Don’t blame a war on its people. I hate the Russian Government, I don’t hate it’s people.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah I agree LA. Sanctions only make it worse for the citizens all of which who are not the same. I hate when people make blanket statements that the citizens are brainwashed to think otherwise…some maybe but not all. That would be like saying every American is a gun toting lover of guns.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. My husband, who is not really a tennis fan, always looks at the country. I, on the other hand, having followed tennis for many years, never think about their country. They’re not playing for their country, unless they’re in the Olympics. So, I don’t think Russian players should be banned. Most don’t live there anymore anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Many sporting events came to the compromise solution of allowing the player to play as an independent, not a representative of their country. But then a Russian (competing as an independent) sportsman wore the Z insignia during a medal ceremony, where he was stood next to a Ukrainian sportsman…. So, while I would agree that a ban will punish individual sportsmen & sportswomen, the fact that certain bodies are determined they will not risk a repeat of such behaviour at their event, is something I completely understand. The individual athletes need to play their part too.

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  15. In many respects I do feel sorry for the Russian tennis players who may feel that this is unjust. But I also see another side of the coin here. We live a few minutes from Wimbledon and have been attending the Championships for years. While the tennis is available for all to enjoy, there is also a significant presence of very wealthy people – some of the tickets for the final sell for thousands of pounds. Wimbledon has drawn wealthy, fashionable types who want to be seen, who want the experience with all the added luxuries thrown a them. London has a significant number of wealthy Russians who float around enjoying a rather ostentatious level of pleasure and luxury. I think the decision to exclude Russian players, was maybe more about sending a message to the wealthy Russians who may be still flitting around London and not really making any attempt to indicate to Putin that destroying a neighbouring country is barbaric and criminal.

    Sports I suppose ought to be about communities on a local, national or international scale coming together to play a game. I know some take it a lot more seriously than that, and I personally find anything that veers toward haughty pride/nationalism makes me very uncomfortable. I don’t like individuals or teams being given too much glory. But I do enjoy sports action. But I think it is appropriate for sporting authorities to send the message out to a government that is shocking the rest of the world with their conduct is not really part of the spirit of sport – fun, playing a game, sharing the excitement. I think it is understandable that they would want to send out a message along the lines of “you cannot invade a country and shed blood and destroy homes and then think you can play games and eat strawberries and cream with everyone – it is not ok”.

    It may be a trivial step in the long run – stopping a countries tennis players appearing is not going to stop a spree of violence, but it is a something – it is a way of saying Wimbledon is supposed to be a fun, enjoyable, summery event especially for those who enjoy lawn tennis…but we are not comfortable sharing a glass of Pimm’s alongside someone who actively supports a ruler who is responsible for so much bloodshed and suffering.

    In that respects, I wish sporting authorities were more principled and less swayed by money.

    Liked by 1 person

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