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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Tennis at Indian Wells: overwhelmed by symbolism – Sport

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For Angelique Kerber, talking to journalists is like the hallway from the locker room to the pitch: you have to walk through it in a tournament like this. She has perfected the art of talking a bit about the same phrases (“play my game”, “follow my plan”) without saying much. But this week, at the Indian Wells tournament, the corridor became a platform. The best German tennis player wanted to say something and she had something to say.

He had won 6-2, 6-1 against Daria Kasatkina, it was not just any match. Kerber’s grandparents are Polish citizens, she lives in Puszczykowo, and she also noted in California that there were air strikes in the border area with Poland during the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. Kasatkina is Russian, and Kerber previously said he didn’t know what kind of game it would be for her. Then ask yourself later: How was it?

“Tennis is secondary to me right now given what’s going on in the world right now,” Kerber said: “There are people who are running away, who are scared, who are worried. I myself don’t live far from the situation, my grandparents are there “Of course you check the news every five minutes. Tennis is second, third, fourth and I deliberately turn on the switch late when preparing for a game.”

Against Kasatkina, Kerber wore a ribbon in Ukraine’s national colors on his peaked cap. The Ukrainian flag now flies above the scoreboard in the stadium. Billionaire and tournament owner Larry Ellison wore a Ukrainian cap, actors like Jannik Sinner (Italy) and Coco Gauff (United States) wore yellow and blue, others like Garbine Muguruza (Spain) or Iga Swiatek (Poland) wore the ribbons yellow blue. . Elina Switolina posed between training camps in an Ape Kids Club t-shirt: a sad cartoon monkey stands in front of a glowing peace sign and holds the Ukrainian flag.

Tennis: "Take a look at other sports, what they have done!" Ukrainian tennis player Elina Svitolina does not agree that Russian players can continue to compete in tennis.

“Look at other sports, what they have done!” Ukrainian tennis player Elina Svitolina does not agree that Russian players can continue to compete in tennis.

(Photo: Radka Leitmeritz/oh)

Switolina puts her hands on her hips, her eyes serious. she is Ukrainian. Having lost her first game in Indian Wells, she now supports her husband Gaël Monfils, who defeated top seed Daniil Medvedev of Russia on Monday. Her family is holding out in a basement in Odessa, and sport also plays a minor role for Switolina. Although that is important for her: she does not agree that Russian actors can act in Indian Wells; albeit without a Russian flag next to the names: “I don’t think that’s right. Look at other sports and see what they’ve done!”

Professional tennis plays a special role in this issue, again. And sport is not a good figure, again.

Some other examples: Alexander Zverev is still conducting an ATP investigation into allegations of domestic violence (which Zverev, who claims his innocence, expressly welcomes), but after half a year there is still no information from the men’s association about the state. is given: Information from a well-informed source that to date no one has asked for a statement or evidence from the alleged victim. The sanction for Zverev’s scare recently in Acapulco when he abused the referee’s chair with his racket: ridiculous. Zverev can do neither for slow-motion investigations nor for light punishment; However, both give the impression that the ATP treats both of them like this rider: somehow, quickly.

Ukrainian Marta Kostjuk says the statements have no substance

Or the state affair surrounding the Chinese woman Peng Shuai, who has since disappeared and for whom it is still not very clear how she is doing. Therefore, the women’s association WTA has canceled all tournaments in China. There are four men’s tournaments in China this fall, including the Masters in Beijing.

Or the tears of former world number one Naomi Osaka over the weekend because a spectator insulted her. She recalled the racist calls against Venus and Serena Williams in 2001, Osaka said afterwards: The tournament in Indian Wells had long carried the stigma of not having done enough against such calls. Anyone who now asks for a statement on the Osaka case waits in vain for an answer. But the main thing is that the flags of Ukraine are waving, there is champagne there, dear viewers.

Tennis: Ukrainian Marta Kostjuk plays in the national colors.

Ukrainian Marta Kostjuk plays with the national colors.

(Photo: Clive Brunskill/AFP)

The symbolism is overwhelming, so it barely affects you. “All the ‘No to war’ statements hurt me because they have no substance,” says Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk, whose family is in kyiv. Russia’s Daniil Medvedev, the world’s number one man, made such a sweeping “no war” statement, but what was he supposed to say? The most significant sentence comes from Daria Gavrilova. She was born in Moscow and now plays for Australia. Her answer to the question about the war: “I have family in Moscow.”

Tennis has a special role in world sport. The actors are I-AG who travel the world, the world’s top 20 for women and men perform for a total of 21 nations. There are WTA and ATP tournaments in 36 countries. Y: There are too many associations with their own interests: the ITF world association; WTA and ATP; the four Grand Slam tournaments – the sport hardly ever speaks with one voice. Often it’s just about keeping your own traveling circus going. Now with a yellow and blue flag on the tent.

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