Rublev and Kasatkina took the attention of the entire media space for the evening. There were many reasons: from Dasha’s coming out to a hypothetical change of sports citizenship. After all, at Wimbledon they were still deprived of the right to play even without a flag, anthem and symbols. Wrong passport – considered the authorities of Britain.
“We offered to somehow get into position: to play a pair or mixed with a Ukrainian player, not to go to the awards. Use the tennis platform to show how important it is for world peace, that this is the most important thing right now. I am a tennis player. Thanks to this platform, I can deliver the right message. But the answer to everything was the same: the Russian government would use the Russian result against everyone. It doesn’t matter what you propose, Wimbledon’s answer was the same, ”Rublev shares in an interview.
“We decided to remain outcasts.” Wimbledon bosses furious at losses over Russians and Belarusians
Moreover, they decided to repeat the experience of TBSh in Latvia – the female 60-thousander in Liepaja this year also banned Russians and Belarusians. The Latvian tennis union in the beginning of June has agreed about an inadmissibility with the international federation. Marina Melnikova (184th racket of the world) tweeted photos of a letter from the ITF, in which the organization politely asks to withdraw from the tournament until June 23. Although neither the ITF nor the players’ commission explained the legitimacy of the decision.
The team players are also in question – it’s not a fact that they will play at the 2024 Olympics, when the Davis Cup and Billie Jean King have already been taken away from Russian tennis players. Although the Games and team tournaments are not a priority for tennis, they are rather told by the fear of repeating the scenario of the royal major and dropping out of tournament life for two weeks: losing the opportunity to work at top tournaments, receive prize money and points, and at the same time increase the chances to participate in the final tournament.
Photo: Thomas F. Starke/Getty Images
“If we are talking about Wimbledon, then for them, yes, you need to change your passport. If we are completely banned from all tournaments and I want to continue my sports career, then this is one of the ways out. Do you have nothing left to do? In fact, yes, ”continues Rublev.
But they blocked the “oxygen” not only and not so much for the tops: if the 19-year-olds were still lucky and they managed to start an international career, then, according to tennis players, the younger age – the future of Russian tennis – has already lost this opportunity. Daria advised young tennis players in Russia to think about continuing their careers.
“Years ahead, yes. Many talented children, whose parents have the opportunity, will probably change their citizenship. To be honest, we already have such questions – once they are removed from Wimbledon and we don’t know what will happen next. And I can tell the children: if there is such an opportunity, guys, change it.
It was impossible to succumb to the temptation of choice earlier for those who have played at least one match in their careers in adult tournaments under the auspices of the ITF – and these are the Davis Cups, Billie Jean King and the Olympic Games. This decision was made back in 2014 during the annual ITF assembly in Dubai. But, according to lawyer Anna Antseliovich, this law seems to have outlived its usefulness and “the rule has not taken root in tennis.”
“First and foremost, we are athletes.” How Russian women react to the change of citizenship in tennis
So, before Wimbledon, Natela Dzalamidze changed her citizenship without any problems: a Georgian flag appeared opposite her last name on the WTA website. The country she now represents is her historical homeland. Back on May 23, the president of the Russian Tennis Federation, Shamil Tarpishchev, said that not a single Russian tennis player was interested in changing citizenship. Everything seems to be changing.
After all, if Russian football has the RPL as a cover, volleyball has the Superleague, basketball has the VTB League, and biathlon and skiing have the Russian Championship, then what will tennis players be left with? Until 2022, there were only two international-class tournaments in the country: in Moscow and St. Petersburg. The first was “frozen”, the second was taken by Kazakhstan.
If everything does not turn out in favor of Russian tops, are they ready to radically change their lifestyle: move from comfortable Europe to Russia, lose contracts with foreign specialists and say goodbye to sponsors, spectators and, possibly, their careers? If almost all sports can pass the test of circumstances and hold out for some time in the internal “bubble”, then tennis Russia does not seem ready for life outside of world sports.
Experts and readers of the “Championship” were divided in their opinion:
“This is really almost the only way for athletes to continue to compete in international competitions. What else is left for them to do if they treat us like that now? I think they have the right to do as they see fit. It is difficult for me to say whether the change of citizenship will become a trend in the near future. I don’t know what nuances there are, ”RIA Novosti quotes Yevgeny Kafelnikov.
“No one is going to cancel the ban, moreover, its cancellation is being postponed,” says Elena, a reader of the “Championship”.
Photo: Getty Images
“Don’t overdo it. They don’t play, they work. They, unlike us, went to this from the age of five, dying on the court, in the gym, instead of playing with dolls. So not everything is so clear. It is clear that it is temporary, but this is a problem, ”says a reader of the Championship estate.
“And who said that he has no right? If she doesn’t want to live here, let her go, no one restricts her. But she is not an ordinary citizen, but a representative of the country in the international arena, and therefore people consider such an act as a betrayal. Just let them not come back later, like Ovsyannikova, ”writes wildest.
“It is a pity that our athletes cannot compete under their native flag. But blaming them for wanting to do what they love, for which they spent so much effort, is definitely not worth it. We will cheer and support our own, no matter what flag they play under! – says the user under the nickname Polina.
“In no way am I calling for a change in sports citizenship, but if they do this in order to maintain their profession, then they can be understood. They devoted their whole lives to tennis, gave so much effort, became great champions in their field. You can’t just take it and forget it. What are they now, to become shoemakers? Each person decides for himself,” said Tatyana Tarasova.
“We must be prepared for the fact that athletes from Russia will massively change their sports citizenship! Whether we like it or not … And closer to the Olympics, the process can become very active … ”Dmitry Guberniev wrote in his telegram channel, commenting on the words of Andrei and Daria.
Photo: Getty Images
Hopefully, the decision of the ATP and WTA bosses will remain unchanged, as well as their desire to defend the interests of the tops according to sports principles, and not citizenship. Perhaps the status of world No. 1 Daniil Medvedev, the lack of sponsors in the face of the Russian Tennis Federation and such frankness of our tops will affect this.