Sports serve as a great form of escapism from the troubles of the world. Fans get to unite over a common interest and enjoy the spectacle of their game of choice.
However, the current political climate and increased terror has infringed upon people’s enjoyment of sports and caused an irksome intersection between professional athletics and policy.
The world’s best tennis players have currently convened in Paris (where a lone terrorist very recently attacked a policeman, and another attack was thwarted) to contend for the French Open crown.
The players were forced to answer questions about the recent spate of terror, and how it could potentially affect Wimbledon next month. The answers the players gave might surprise people.
Players seem to have grown accustomed to these attacks.
Players at the French Open say they are not worried about competing at Wimbledon next month despite the recent attacks in Britain.
“I didn’t get to that thought of: ‘Oh, should I go? Should I not go to London with myself, my family?’ Because it can happen anywhere,” Novak Djokovic said after winning his match at Roland Garros. “I mean, if it happens in London, happens in Paris, Nice, it can really happen anywhere. I mean, if we live in fear, you know, that’s not life. … If it’s a destiny for you to be somewhere in some place in a wrong time, I mean, it can happen to all of us, God forbid.”
Britain suffered its third major attack in three months when men using a van and knives killed seven people in a busy area of London on Saturday night.
A van veered off the road and barreled into pedestrians on London Bridge. Three men then got out of the vehicle with large knives and attacked people at bars and restaurants in nearby Borough Market until they were fatally shot by police.
There was a similar vehicle and knife attack on Westminster Bridge in London in March that left five people dead. And on May 22, a suicide bomber killed 22 people and injured dozens at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, in northwest England.
“I’m sure Wimbledon’s on top of that stuff,” Britain’s Jamie Murray, the brother of No. 1-ranked Andy Murray, said Sunday after reaching the doubles quarterfinals at Roland Garros. “That seems to be the world that we have to live in these days, which is not much fun for anyone.
“It’s very hard to stop someone getting in a van and driving around trying to knock people over. How do you stop that? It’s very difficult. It’s very sad. It’s tragic. It’s just a shame that there’s people out there that want to do that stuff to other humans.”
“It’s tough to accept these kind of things, but it’s happening very often today and [it] is difficult to change that for the moment.”
France is still under a state of emergency after a string of Islamic extremist attacks, including two in Paris.
The French Open continues until next weekend. Wimbledon starts July 3 at the All England Club in southwest London.
“It’s obviously very awful what’s happening, or what’s happened the last few weeks, and obviously what happened here in the past, as well,” said former No. 1-ranked Caroline Wozniacki, who is Danish. “You know, I don’t know what you can do to prevent it.”
It’s a sad state of affairs when terrorism has become so normalized, that many accept it as just a part of modern culture.
It’s imperative that western societies don’t become inured to terrorist attacks, because that doesn’t seem to get extremists to stop. In fact, it’s done the opposite.
The world’s best players have the luxury of secluded homes, armed guards, and heightened security at their tournaments. Everyday citizens don’t have those protections.
As UK Prime Minister Theresa May said, “Enough is enough.”