The first week at the Australian Open was a controversial one with Cypriot and flamboyant player Marcos Baghdatis playing the lead role in what should be a Razzie nominated movie. In the movie Baghdatis was seen with friends at a barbecue holding a flare while chanting “Turks out.” Bluntly put: This is racism. And the strange part is he won’t apologise for what he did. Endorsing racism when you are a celebrity and especially the kind of celebrity he is in his own country can get nasty.
Kids following his example come to tolerate racism thinking it’s an acceptable way to emulate their idol. Even though it’s a tough task to lead by example while keeping your political views to yourself when you are in the spotlight, it would be wise for him to be more aware of his actions.
His actions also caused upset with the Turkish Cypriotic community. Specifically, the “Australian Turkish Cypriot Cultural and Welfare Association” in Australia and its members will actively seek to get Baghdatis expelled from the Australian Open for abusing his celebrity status.
Baghdatis himself says in a statement issued by the Australian Open organisers that he was defending the interests of his country Cyprus but that he would like to focus on his tennis.
Something he should have done in the first place rather than chanting simply because he is a much better player than a chanter.
Another controversy revolving Marcos Baghdatis is the fact that on the video there is a man in his company who got ejected from the Australian Open during the Fernando Gonzalez (CHI) versus Konstantinos Economidis (GRE) match.
The fans got ejected for rioting during the match and were ejected by the police with pepperspray. I believe it’s the first time that pepperspray has ever been used at a tennis match.
Tennis has enough problems than to deal with nationalistic fans and players who can give the sport a black eye.
Another player who is under fire in her native country is Sania Mirza. She was caught on photo with her feet up after a long and hard match during the Hopman Cup earlier this month.
Mirza is a girl who can’t do anything right in the eyes of orthodox Indian Muslims back home country India. She is either too naked or reveals too much with her tennis attire. Wearing scant attire is the lest of her troubles when considering that she shouldn’t be playing tennis at all because, well, she is a woman.
This time it’s different and what bothers me most is that you can’t take a rest anywhere anymore these days. You can’t take a rest on a bench in the park without the police stopping to suspiciously ask what you are doing – as if you’re a criminal. You can no longer sit on a sideway to take a rest after a long walk and you sure as hell are not allowed to get your feet up after an intense match at the Hopman cup with the Indian flag present.
Indeed, places to rest are becoming scarce. Perhaps next year the tournaments can just put the Indian flag like 50 feet away from Sania Mirza so she can get her feet up.
The issue is reaching the point where Mirza even considered quitting the game. This is unfortunate. I would hope not because she is a real asset to tennis and is definitely a proper example for Asian muslim women all over the world regardless of what Orthodox Indian Muslims say.