The organizers of the prestigious Grand Slam tournament have decided to follow the example of other great competitions.
Wimbledon has excluded the Russians and Belarusians from the 2022 edition of the Lawn Major due to the Ukrainian war, making it the first tennis tournament to exclude these players individually.
Daniil Medvedev, world number 2, Andrey Rublev (ATP 8), Aryna Sabalenka (WTA 4 and semifinalist last year), Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (WTA 15) and Victoria Azarenka (former number 1 today 18) will not be able not to defend , therefore, its possibilities in London.
“In the circumstances of unjustified and unprecedented military aggression, it would be unacceptable for the Russian regime to take any benefit from the participation of Russian or Belarusian players,” the tournament said in a statement.
This decision could be reviewed if “circumstances change radically in June,” the text adds.
“We recognize that this decision is hard on those affected individually, and it is with sadness that the actions of the leaders of the Russian regime will suffer,” added Ian Hewitt, president of the All England Club hosting the event.
“Once again, they are turning athletes into hostages of political prejudice, political intrigue,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
Even before an official announcement of the English tournament, Moscow reacted by calling the decision “unacceptable”. “Once again they are holding athletes hostage to political prejudice, political intrigue,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
Following the recommendations of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Russian and Belarusian athletes have been excluded from numerous competitions: Beijing Paralympic Games, Soccer World Cup, Swimming World Cup … Tennis, Russia and Belarus have been excluded from team competitions (Davis Cup and Billie Jean King Cup), but individually and under a neutral banner, players from these two countries are currently allowed to play ATP and WTA tournaments.
However, the four Grand Slam tournaments, the Australian Open, Roland-Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open, are independent of the men’s and women’s circuits.
So far, the French Federation (FFT) is organizing Roland-Garros (May 22-June 5) and the US (USTA) is hosting the US Open (August 29-June 11). September) have not planned to exclude Russian and Belarusian players.
Affected players have condemned the conflict with their lips closed, although Russian Andrey Rublev wrote ‘No war please’ on a television camera during a competition in Dubai shortly after the invasion.
“I want peace around the world,” Medvedev said, recovering from an operation. The Belarusian Azarenka, former world number one and twice crowned at the Australian Open, was more explicit. “It is heartbreaking to see how many innocent people have been and continue to be affected by this violence,” the 32-year-old said in March.
“I have always seen and experienced Ukrainians and Belarusians as kind and supportive people.”
Victoria Azarenka, Belarusian player
“I have always seen and experienced Ukrainians and Belarusians as friendly and mutually supportive people. It is difficult to witness the violent separation that is currently taking place,” Azarenka said.
These statements are considered insufficient by the Ukrainian players, including Elina Svitolina (former number 5) who asks the ATP and the WTA to exclude Russians and Belarusians if they do not answer correctly three questions set out in a press release: “Give support the invasion (…)), do you support military activities (…), do you support the Putin and Lukashenko regimes? ”
“Depending on the answers, we demand the exclusion and exclusion of Russian and Belarusian athletes from all international competitions, as Wimbledon did,” the text continued on social media on Wednesday.
All major UK tournaments
The Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), which oversees the major Wimbledon prep tournaments, has decided to align itself with the measure taken by the Major and not host any Russians or Belarusians to Queen’s or Eastbourne in particular.
A decision acclaimed by Wimbledon for its “consistency.”
AFP / Le Matin / MCP, via mediacongo.net