Everything will fall apart in five years. Commentator Alexander Shmurnov on the future of Russian sports

“Now Russian tennis will experience a clear decline. If you paid attention, "tennis player Daria" Kasatkina wrote down her appeal with "Andrey" Rublev, and they reasoned there - what they owe the state, what the state did or did not do for them, and what is their future fate, whether they will, for example, under some other flag.

This will all happen. I'll give a more everyday example. Yevgeny Kafelnikov - the legendary champion - is now dealing with the fate of his nephew, who is 12 years old and plays tennis. On his example, you can draw a conclusion about the system. He says that the main thing for a young tennis player is to constantly play at a high level in competitions of his age. If this is not the case, the building will collapse. And now Russian young tennis players simply cannot go to tournaments in Europe, they cannot compete and train to move to the next level.

“Russian young tennis players cannot go to tournaments, they cannot move to the next level”

A lot of people are already with their parents. Whoever remains in America goes to the American Tennis Academy and becomes a member there with the possibility of transferring to American jurisdiction. In France as well, in Germany, in Spain - in Europe there are a huge number of academies. And we have two and a half academies, and there were problems. But all the same, we managed to build a system in the 90s - poorly functioning, which lacks its own capacities, its own infrastructure, but we built it, tennis talent woke up in us.

We won both the Davis Cup and the Fed Cup last year, we have many champions, winners of the Grand Slam tours. But all this will collapse in five years if there is a statist attitude towards such stars as Kasatkina or Rublev: “Either you are ours and recognize everything that we say, or you can go anywhere.”

And the guys are doing everything right. Tennis is individual and extra-border, a non-state sport, it has always been like this, there are gathering competitions, but tennis players exist for 50 weeks out of 52 in different parts of the world. And if you tell them - "now you are sitting still," then they will cease to be tennis players.

Athletes are now deprived of landmarks. Let's take the same hockey - the most intensively and correctly developing sport in Russia over the past 20 years, and maybe in general. The reference point there is the National Hockey League. This is one of the best tournaments of our time with the right organization, budgets, approaches, absolutely everything. And any dad from Moscow, Chelyabinsk, Khabarovsk or Nizhny Novgorod understands perfectly well: if he has a son a hockey player, then the main sun that shines in front of the family is the opportunity to get into the national hockey league. And there to provide for yourself and your family forever, if you become a star, you succeed. And stars appear constantly, every year.

“Athletes were deprived of landmarks”

Hockey really developed well for us. Plus, we were helped by the league, which was built almost like the NHL. The KHL has become the second league in the world. I don't think we have such success in any other sport. But now Ivan Fedotov is going to Novaya Zemlya, and NHL scouts are saying, “Oh, you signed a player, and he will serve in your army almost like in prison? So we better not do scouting in Russia then.” And dad from Chelyabinsk thinks - “fir-trees, sticks, that is, now I will bring my son to such and such a level, I will invest all the money, all the strength of the family, and then he will be sent to Novaya Zemlya instead of Philadelphia? Yes, maybe we’d better go to parachuting, there are less risks.” And hockey literally in 5-6 years can slide below the floor. And it's just awful. It happens in all sports. It is especially sad for those sports that have developed correctly and well.”

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