Tennis star Daniil Medvedev says Wimbledon’s decision to ban all Russian and Belarusian players from this year’s tournament sets the precedent that sporting authorities can eliminate competitors for their political views.
The Grand Slam previously made the decision on the grounds that allowing players from those countries to compete would be a victory for “the propaganda machine of the Russian regime.”
However, both the men’s ATP and women’s WTA tours have slammed the move as discriminatory and threatened to strip Wimbledon of ranking points in retaliation for the ban.
Russians and Belarusians are still allowed to compete in other tournaments under a neutral representation.
Current world number 2 Medvedev, who has already called for peace in Ukraine, says the ban is “unfair” and is dangerous because it “sets a precedent and puts other sports competitions in an uncomfortable position.”
In other words, even after the war in Ukraine is over, sports professionals could face career ruination because they oppose or even just refuse to comment on whatever the latest political ‘current thing’ may be.
One can easily imagine a future where prominent public figures are punished for failing to endorse the ‘right’ political candidate or express support for whatever contemporary hot button issue is on the agenda.
Novak Djokavic was already punished by Australian authorities earlier this year for refusing to take a COVID-19 vaccine.