When was the last time a Western athlete was banned because their country started a war?
One of the unspoken rules of human affairs is that ordinary citizens should never be personally harassed for the political actions of their leaders. That truism has never been properly observed enough, and went completely out of the window when Russia began its military operation in Ukraine.
This week, Serbian tennis sensation Novak Djokovic delivered a powerful rebuke to Wimbledon’s decision to bar the participation of Russian players from the famous grass tournament.
Referring to himself as a “child of war” who experienced the “emotional trauma” of the US-led 78-day NATO bombardment of his native town of Belgrade in 1999, Djokovic described the banning of Russian players at the prestigious tennis tournament as “crazy.”
“I cannot support the decision of Wimbledon, I think it is crazy,” the world’s top-ranked player said. “When politics interferes with sport, the result is not good.”
Novak #Djokovic: “I will always be the first one to condemn the war. I know what kind of trauma a war leaves, ordinary people always suffer. But I can’t support the Wimbledon decision. It’s not athletes’ fault. When politics interfere with sport, it usually doesn’t turn out well” pic.twitter.com/xYFIlFuQyy
— Mario Boccardi (@marioboc17) April 20, 2022
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