“They didn’t choose where to be born”: Wimbledon semi-finalist sympathizes with the Russians

(July 6) – Kazakh tennis player Elena Rybakina says she sympathized with the Russian tennis players, who were not allowed to Wimbledon, because every athlete wants to play in the biggest tournament of the Grand Slam series. 

The aristocratic Wimbledon, held on grass courts in the suburbs of London, will end on July 10th. In April, the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (AELTC) in collusion with the Boris Johnson government refused to allow Russian and Belarusian tennis players to the tournament because of the situation in Ukraine. In response, in May, the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) and the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) decided not to award Wimbledon ranking points.

”We all play sports, everyone wants to compete. They didn’t choose where they were born.  Of course, I sympathize with them, because everyone wants to play in the biggest tournament, Wimbledon,” The Guardian quotes Rybakina. 

You will not read her forthright statement in the coverage of the Canadian sports media of Wimbledon. Russia is taboo and the NATO-IOC boycott of Russian and Belarusian athletes sacrosanct. Big name columnists such as Cathal Kelly of The Globe and Mail and Rose Di Manno of the Toronto Star are enraptured by the obscene antics of an Australian, Nick Krygios, just charged with sexual assault of his former girl friend, according to The Canberra Times, without sanctioning his flagrant violation of elementary norms of sportsmanship on and off the court. Battles with umpires, racket smashing, taunting opponents and even spitting in the direction of fans are celebrated as “theatre.”

On Wednesday, Rybakina beat Australian Ayla Tomlyanovich in quarter-finals at Wimbledon and reached the semi-finals of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time in her career.

The tennis player is a native of Moscow; until 2018 she represented Russia. In June 2018, she changed her sports citizenship to Kazakhstan.

”I was born in Russia, but, of course, I represent Kazakhstan. I played at the Olympics, the Billie Jean King Cup. I get a lot of help, I feel support from people and I am very happy to play for Kazakhstan, because I think that I bring results that help the development of sports in the country,” the tennis player added.

In the semifinals, Rybakina will play against Romanian Simona Halep (16th seed).


Related reading on this website

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