Link do postuWysłany: 2015-01-04, 07:25 Peter Bodo o braku patriotyzmu w dzisiejszym tenisie
Chwali Agnieszkę, ale zapomina, że sam jest Węgrem żyjącym w /i z/ USA
Peter Bodo Blog
Tennis anything but a patriot's game
I met the guy, a tennis fan, at a holiday party. Within two minutes, he told me he had a serious beef about the game. “Oh no,” I thought. “Another Rafael Nadal fan who hates Roger Federer, or a Novak Djokovic fan who hates Nadal, or a Jimmy Connors fan who hates everyone because the game isn’t exciting for him anymore.” He was just about the right age for that last one.
But the thing that bugged this guy is that during television broadcasts, the image of a player is often accompanied by his or her relevant national flag. He told me he lives near Kim Clijsters in New Jersey, so why do they always put a Belgian flag up there?
It was a curious, seemingly petty complaint. I more or less dismissed it as holiday party chitchat. But later, when I got thinking about it, I could see the fan’s point -- at least insofar as he was saying that national affiliation in tennis has become something of a joke. Sure it enhances tennis’ image as a colorful, exciting, international game, and the flags are pretty window dressing. But the era when you actually lived in the country you played for, or played for the country you were from, is long gone.
Maria Sharapova basically lives in the U.S., but she was the flag-bearer for Russia in the past Olympics. Yet she plays Fed Cup for Russia infrequently, partly to meet the rules for Olympic Games qualifying. Tommy Haas has dual passports (German and American), lives in Los Angeles and Bradenton, Florida, and plays (in fits and starts) for Germany. All four members of the French Davis Cup team that lost to Switzerland a few weeks ago live in Switzerland, and it isn’t because they want to place votive candles on the doorstep of Federer’s home. They’re living in tax exile.
If you had to play for the nation where you reside, Monaco would be a Davis Cup powerhouse led by Djokovic. Instead, Monaco’s top player is Benjamin Balleret, who has an ATP singles ranking of No. 497. There is something wrong with this picture, even if the players aren’t doing anything illegal. It’s evidence of how the world is changing, and of how it’s a world full of loopholes and double standards. Doesn’t that increase your respect for someone like Agnieszka Radwanska, who CONTINUES to live in the tennis outpost of Krakow and represents Poland in the Fed Cup?
On the tour, it doesn’t make much difference where a player lives. But in Davis Cup and Fed Cup, the impact can be huge. Take Kazakhstan, whose Davis Cup team has been in the elite World Group since early 2011. The team that led champion Switzerland by two matches to one in this year’s quarterfinals had no native Kazak on the team. Three of the members were Russian, the fourth Ukrainian.
Nikolay Davydenko flipped the equation. Born in the Ukraine, he moved to Russia. He prospered and eventually earned a place on the Russian Davis Cup team.
And who can forget the criticism Montreal-born Greg Rusedski took in some corners for abandoning Canada to take advantage of his maternal birthright to play for Britain? “One day, the guy is Canadian,” Pete Sampras said, “the next he’s running around saying ‘telly’ instead of ‘television’ and ‘petrol’ instead of ‘gas.’” That Rusedski took to wearing a Union Jack headband didn’t help his cause.
Some of these switcheroos are understandable if not exactly admirable, but others seem opportunistic in a way that violates the spirit if not the letter of the rules. It’s gotten so embarrassing that the ITF recently changed the Davis Cup eligibility rules. Call the new protocol for 2015 the “Bedene rule.”
Aljaz Bedene is a 25-year-old Slovenian who has lived in the United Kingdom since 2008 and earlier this year began the process of APPLYING FOR British citizenship. Once ranked as high as No. 71 in singles, he was a potential Davis Cup asset, given that Andy Murray is the only Brit in the top 100.
Aware of the situation, the ITF took another look at its rulebook, which up to now allowed otherwise qualified players to play for a new country after a waiting period of just 36 months. Now, having played for one country disqualifies you from representing a new one. That’s in line with the rules governing the most popular world sport, soccer.
That seems like a reasonable rule now that the era that produced the freedom-seeking political refugee (such as Martina Navratilova) is in the past. It’s better if national affiliation remains a pleasant, almost meaningless ruse that enhances the game instead of calling its credibility into question
Żadna nowość i żadna sensacja. Brak patriotyzmu według mnie to coś dobrego. Nauczmy się kochać i bronić coś za czyny, a nie za to, że tam się urodziliśmy.
Poza tym, jeżeli zawodniczka bardziej się czuję Rosjanką, niż Amerykanką, mimo że w USA żyje prawie że całe życie - proszę bardzo! (Dla dobra dyskusji - pominę trafność tego wyboru )