To the Wimbledon organisers and its Patron, Catherine, The Duchess of Cambridge.
I just found out that this year’s Grand Slam in Wimbledon will ban Russians as well as Belarusians players from competing. After a year hiatus due to Covid, players and fans were excited to see games and legends write or rewrite history.
Today, with astonishment, I am reading headlines that contradict everything I heard during the so-called pandemic where global leaders were sharing a certain view of compassion and empathy that no longer is relevant today. However, having been a firm believer that sport was and will be a space where discrimination and hate are not acceptable, it is a sad thing to read that The All England Club is to betray players who are part of the tennis world and their fans.
When Novak Djokovic decided to forgo the vaccine mandate in Australia, he did so by following the rules established by the Australian government but with it came much fanfare about his case that the government decided to cancel his visa and depart the country. Novak had his convictions, following the noise or believing in his own values.
Djokovic and Medvedev cases are different in nature. Medvedev, a Russian player is banned from playing in a tournament because the government of his home country decided to go haywire. By doing so, Wimbledon and many sports events are setting a precedent that should not be followed.
In the middle of this are normal citizens who have their personal views about what is happening in their home country and I am sure very few Europeans understand what they are going through. To bully its citizens in demanding that they disavow the war in the name of what? Having likes on social media or to be accepted in some social circles is stupid and vain. Moreover, to those living a cushy life who are used to complaining and tearing apart their leaders, they must learn that this is not how it goes elsewhere.
Not everybody is willing to go to war.
If you were to cancel me or my work on the grounds of what the leaders of my country are doing, or having been doing for 30 years or even 10 years, I will be screwed.
To HRH The Duchess of Cambridge, you have been lucky enough to travel outside the UK and Europe, I hope that you will push for this ban to be overruled. For instance, you have seen how in Asia, women are treated but it never stopped British cricketers from enjoying a game between India and Pakistan. Some are quick to point out that Rwanda’s leader is a “dictator” but it did not stop the country from being invited to the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham or to host CHOGM 2022 in Kigali this summer.
It is unfair to the players. This is their livelihood.
It started with the vaccine mandate, now the war, tomorrow it will be something else.
Let me quote Trevor Noah’s tweet after his ‘clash’ with Kanye West : “I said counsel Kanye not cancel Kanye.”
Because Wimbledon, Roland Garros or the US Open are mostly privately funded not state funded; it is a shame to see how people are quick to involve politics while underestimating the power that it holds on certain populations.