The Championships Wimbledon, one of the four Grand Slam tournaments of international tennis, will not allow Russian and Belarussian players to compete this year due to Russian military offensive in Ukraine, termed as an ‘invasion’ by the West, including Britain, the host country. The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) announced this on Tuesday, March 19th, after earlier saying that it was in talks with the British government on the issue.
It said in its statement that it had to play its part to complement the efforts of the government to “limit Russia's global influence through the strongest means possible,” adding further: “We recognise that this is hard on the individuals affected, and it is with sadness that they will suffer for the actions of the leaders of the Russian regime,”
Daniil Medvedev, world number 2 in Men’s Singles, Andrey Rublev, with rank 8, and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, ranked 15th in women’s singles, may thereby be barred from the tournament. British Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston had said that he will not be “comfortable” with a Russian player winning Wimbledon and flying the Russian flag in the club.
Reuters reports that the ATP and WTA, both professional tennis bodies for men and women players, have come out against the move to ban players based on their nationality. The ATP has termed the decision “unilateral” and said that it would set a negative precedent.
The WTA, "Individual athletes should not be penalised or prevented from competing due to where they are from, or the decisions made by the governments of their countries,"
Nine-time Wimbledon winner Martina Navratilova said to LBC radio that this is a “wrong decision”, and that “Exclusion like this, through no fault of these players, is not the way to go”.