In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Belarus’ support of the war, Wimbledon is reportedly planning to bar Russian and Belarusian players from the Grand Slam tennis tournament which begins in London on June 27. Sportico reported that the event, organized by the All England Club, will break from the rest of the tennis world by refusing to allow Russians to compete — this would include current world No. 2 Daniil Medvedev.
The New York Times, citing a highly placed international tennis official, said the ban is expected to extend to Belarusian players as well. We have reached out to Wimbledon for comment.
Since the war began in February, Russian and Belarusian players have been allowed to remain on the ATP and WTA Tours, but without their national flags displayed next to their names. Players have been barred from team competitions including the Davis Cup and the Billie Jean King Cup.
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British sports minister Nigel Huddleston said in March that “absolutely nobody flying the flag for Russia should be allowed or enabled… We need some potential assurance that they are not supporters of Vladimir Putin.” At the time, Huddleston said he was discussing the issue with Wimbledon organizers, according to Reuters.
Although Wimbledon would be the first major tennis tournament to ban individual players, it would join other sporting events such as the Paralympics which removed Russia and Belarus from competing. The Russian soccer team was also made ineligible to qualify for the men’s World Cup in Qatar later this year.
Along with Medvedev, other players affected by an eventual ban at Wimbledon would include world No. 8 Andrey Rublev, who in February was filmed writing “no war please” on a television camera lens after winning a match in Dubai.
On the women’s side, it would include Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Daria Kasatkina and Veronika Kudermetova from Russia, as well as Belarus’ Aryna Sabalenka and Victoria Azarenka, the latter a two-time Grand Slam winner, Sportico noted.
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