First of all, it’s an individual sport. When you walk out on the court, your success or failure is on you. You can’t get away with blaming your teammates. I find that to be a very conservative value to base a sport on.
Secondly, you gotta be good. Really good to play at a high level. Pancho Gonzales (here if you’re just a kid ) once commented to the effect, “Anybody can play competitively against Arnold Palmer. He just gives you a bunch of strokes. I’m gonna hit the ball over the net at you at 100 miles an hour, what are you gonna do about that?” Again, the concept of standing on your own two feet and relying on your own competence. Very conservative stuff.
And Pancho was a stand-up guy. Being a Mexican-American tennis pro in the fifties wasn’t a piece of cake. He is a good role model for anybody today.
OK, so much for history, let’s look at current events with a tip of the hat to the guys at Powerline….
The Davis Cup is a match that pits teams from various countries against one another. Just like in golf’s Ryder Cup, the winner will be the country represented by it’s athletes. This year Sweden was scheduled to host the team from from Israel. Sweden chose to schedule the matches in Malmo. Malmo is heavily populated with immigrant Muslims and is – even for Sweden – a left leaning city. The mayor decreed that the matches would be played indoors and without spectators “for security reasons”.
So far the Swedish Tennis Federation or the International Tennis Federation hasn’t stepped up to challenge this, but US Davis Cup Captain Pat McEnroe has. “I think you would like to see the match being played, and if there are some security concerns, you would like to see the home country be able to address them. I don’t think you should let a couple fanatics or whatever it is dictate having an event open to the public.
“We should all remember Davis Cup came into existence to promote friendship between countries. That’s what it’s all about. Obviously competition is huge, but at the end of the day, you respect your opponent and you respect playing for your own country and the countries you compete against. We’ve always tried … to accentuate that this is two countries playing in the right spirit. That’s, to me, what Davis Cup is all about.”
Powerline has more detail and an excellent commentary here.
This isn’t the only thing happening in the world of professional tennis today. There is a match in Dubai. It’s a big deal on the pro tour. This year the UAE refused to grant a visa to Israeli player Shahar Peer so she could compete in the WTA match. Well, I’m happy to report that the WTA has stepped up to the plate big time as have big name players.
From the AP report…
The WTA fined Dubai Tennis Championships organizers a record $300,000 Friday after Israeli player Shahar Peer was denied a visa by the United Arab Emirates, and U.S. star Andy Roddick later said he wouldn’t defend the title he won there last year.
“I really didn’t agree with what went on over there. I don’t know if it’s the best thing to mix politics and sports, and that was probably a big part of it,” Roddick said at a tournament in Memphis, Tenn.
“It’s just disappointing that reflects on a tournament that probably didn’t have much to do with the decision. Nevertheless, I just don’t feel like there’s a need for that in a sporting event. I don’t think you make political statements through sports.”
The Women’s Tennis Association also took steps to compensate Peer and ensure she and other Israeli players won’t be shut out of future tournaments in the federation.
Part of the fine — more than double the previous largest levied by the WTA — will go to Peer and doubles partner Anna-Lena Groenefeld of Germany to make up for the prize money they could have won at the lucrative tournament with a purse of $2 million.
“I think what we hope with this decision is that we’re sending a very clear message that we’re not going to tolerate discrimination of any kind,” tour CEO Larry Scott told The Associated Press. “We wanted to send a clear signal that this is the most egregious action the world of tennis has seen in recent history. And we felt that it should be at least double what the previous highest penalty was.”
As important, Scott said, was requiring the organizers to post a $2 million performance guarantee — something normally not required by established, financially sound events like the Dubai Tennis Championships.
But that’s not all. Venus Williams had something to say about it too (my highlights).
Venus Williams hailed ‘brave’ Israeli tennis star Shahar Peer after winning the Dubai Tennis Championship on Saturday. Peer was denied entry into the United Arab Emirates for the tournament.
“I felt like I had to talk about her,” Williams said. “I thought it was brave of her to come here and try and play despite knowing that it is not going to be easy for her. My dad grew up in an area where if you spoke too much, it was your life. So I felt I had a small opportunity to say something where everyone will listen.”
She added: “I am not here to rock any boat or upset people, I am just here to do things that are right, and I think right things are already happening next week and right things will happen next year.”
“Obviously, Andy Ram got his visa, so I’ll be happy to come and defend next year. If everyone is not given the equal opportunity to play, I’d rethink but I love this tournament. They really care about the players.”
Earlier Saturday, the director of Dubai’s tennis tournament said Israeli player Andy Ram will have all the security he needs to play in the ATP Tour event starting Monday.
In other words, the folks in the UAE got the message loud and clear.
Bottom line, thanks to the WTA and to Venus Williams and Andy Roddick. Take note folks, especially you folks who are elected officials in Washington DC, when you stand up against terrorist nations and their ideals they run and hide. Another Conservative lesson. And a lesson Republicans should take special note of, given the terrorist enablers currently in power in the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives.