The Hindu Editorial Vocabulary– Apr 27, 2022; Day 279
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Difficult Word/ PhraseContextual Sense
Myopic Lacking foresight or scope
Open a can of worms to create a complicated situation in which doing something to correct a problem leads to many more problems
Raging Very intense 
Reigning denoting the most recent winner of a competition, contest, etc
Ostracize Expel from a community or group
Unprecedented unheard-of
Transcend Be greater in scope
Unilaterally by means of one part or party
Splintered to break into small parts or into groups with divergent views
Shorn to strip or divest (someone) of a power, right, etc.
Check and balance counterbalancing influences by which an organization or system is regulated, typically those ensuring that political power is not concentrated in the hands of individuals or groups
Optics the superficial appearance of an action or event
Hold aloft to maintain at an elevated altitude
Blanket ban complete or total ban
Militate be a powerful or conclusive factor in preventing
Strip Take away functions
Attest show by one’s behaviour, attitude etc.
Espouse Take up the cause, ideology, practice, method, of someone and use it as one’s own
Can’t see the wood for the treesto be unable to understand a situation clearly because you are too involved in it

Myopic (Lacking foresight or scope) view: On sports and politics

Individual sportspersons should not be penalised for the actions of their political leaders

Last Wednesday’s decision by Wimbledon to decline entries from Russian and Belarusian players for the 2022 edition of the world’s premier tennis tournament has opened a can of worms (to create a complicated situation in which doing something to correct a problem leads to many more problems). With the Russia-Ukraine war raging (very intense), the All England Club stated that “it would be unacceptable for the Russian regime to derive any benefits from the involvement of Russian or Belarusian players with The Championships”. Even as the Club acknowledged it was hard on individual athletes, chairman Ian Hewitt said “they will suffer for the actions of the leaders of the Russian regime”. It will affect dozens of players including men’s World No.2 and reigning (denoting the most recent winner of a competition, contest, etc) US Open champion Daniil Medvedev, World No.8 Andrey Rublev, women’s World No.4 Aryna Sabalenka and two-time Major winner Victoria Azarenka. The move was by no means unique; in March, World Athletics had similarly ostracised (Expel from a community or group) Russian and Belarusian athletes. But Wimbledon’s decision was unprecedented (unheard-of) because unlike other sports, tennis more or less transcends (Be greater in scope) nationalism. Except in team events such as the Davis Cup and the Billie Jean King Cup — from which Russia is currently banned — players’ entry into a tournament is based solely on ranking and not nationality. Criticism from legends like Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova was rooted in this fact, so was the pushback from ATP and WTA, the governing bodies of the men’s and women’s tours.

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That Wimbledon could act unilaterally (by means of one part or party) has much to do with tennis’ splintered (to break into small parts or into groups with divergent views) administration. There is no umbrella organisation that directs the sport; the four Majors, ATP, WTA and International Tennis Federation act independently. There is not an autonomous players’ union either. Shorn (to strip or divest (someone) of a power, right, etc.) of checks and balances (counterbalancing influences by which an organization or system is regulated, typically those ensuring that political power is not concentrated in the hands of individuals or groups), Wimbledon, to seemingly avoid the optics (the superficial appearance of an action or event) of a Russian or Belarusian player holding aloft (to maintain at an elevated altitude) the trophy — a genuine possibility considering Sabalenka was a semifinalist in 2021 — thought it was best to impose a blanket ban (complete or total ban). But this militates (be a powerful or conclusive factor in preventing) against the principle of fairness and equal opportunity and may force the ATP and WTA to strip (Take away functions) the event of ranking points, turning it into a glorified exhibition tournament. The episode also brings into focus the role of the British government, whose guidelines Wimbledon said it had taken into account. Last month, Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston demanded that Russian players attest (show by one’s behaviour, attitude etc.) “they were not supporters of Vladimir Putin”, despite Medvedev and Rublev publicly calling for peace. In fact, Mr. Huddleston’s view was similar to the one espoused (Take up the cause, ideology, practice, method, of someone and use it as one’s own) by Ukrainian players led by Elina Svitolina, a two-time Grand Slam semifinalist. While one can empathise with the Ukrainians’ feelings, considering their tragic lived experiences, it sets a damaging precedent when nations start penalising individual citizens for the actions of political leaders. It appears that both Wimbledon and the British government do not want to see the wood for the trees (Can’t see the wood for the trees means to be unable to understand a situation clearly because you are too involved in it).

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