Thoughts of The Week, Featuring Bob Hewitt, The Draw, Sharapova
An age-old question
There was a time I didn’t think politics should interfere with sport. I first thought about this controversial topic as a 15-year-old in history class when discussing the Springbok Tour. For those who don’t know, in 1981 the New Zealand rugby team, the All Blacks, made a decision to tour South Africa and play the Springboks despite South Africa’s racial apartheid policy. Many people in New Zealand were opposed to the tour, believing sporting contact with New Zealand’s biggest rugby rival should be ceased due to their racial segregation policy. The Prime Minister, Robert Muldoon, persisted with the tour insisting that politics and sport should not mix. When I learnt of the tour that day in history class, I initially agreed with Muldoon. South Africa clearly had a revolting racist government, but a rugby game is a rugby game, not a declaration of support. I now disagree. Whilst touring might not show political support, refusing to tour is one of the strongest statements a country can make. Sport is one of few things citizens from all backgrounds enjoy and bond over. Ceasing sporting tours is one of the only ways a foreign government can affect a population of people without harm. It can force them to think about why they aren’t playing the sport they love and can make them see the extent to which other countries disagree with their policies.
This is why I think it is important the Rhode Island International Tennis Hall of Fame removes Bob Hewitt’s exhibit and conduct a full investigation into the claims of sexual abuse by over a dozen woman. Tennis needs to stand up and show it isn’t Ok with a coach sexually abusing young girls (or anyone else) no matter how good at tennis he turned out to be. The International Tennis Hall of Fame originally agreed to investigate these allegations but has since scrapped the inquiry. Hewitt’s exhibition still stands. Please sign this petition to show we, as tennis fans, are not Ok with it.
John Connolly/Globe Staff/file
The constant complaint
On a lighter note, the draw for Roland Garros is out and for Maria Sharapova fans, it sure looks ugly. The one name any Sharapova fan fears, Serena Williams, stands looming in the quarter-finals. I don’t like to be one of those people who whine about the draw, but I was carrying on like Moaning Myrtle last night. Not only is the Serena/Maria match I hoped would be a final happening far too early, del Potro is due to play Federer if he can make it past Berdych. Adding to the list of my favourites clashing too soon, Federer will meet Djokovic in the semi-finals if he can overcome his difficult quarter. It occurred to me in the throngs of my whingeing that half of those complaining about the draw were upset their favourites had a tough draw, and the other half were annoyed their favourites would meet too early. I come under the latter and I’d like to think that makes my whining more justified. But I also moaned about Rafael Nadal’s easy draw, so perhaps not. Regardless, pencil Nadal and Williams in as trophy favourites. Actually, just etch Nadal’s name in already.
Times They Are a-Changing
There might be a change in the theme of this blog come June. I’m travelling the States for three months and am taking my racket and a fierce determination not to get fat. My cunning plan is to play tennis in every city possible. I might chronicle that journey on this blog, sticking with a mainly tennis theme but a few more travel-related things thrown in. I get the feeling everyone hates travel blogs though, so we will see.
Enjoy Roland Garros, all.