Tennis: Russian and Belarusian players could be excluded from Wimbledon

Russian Daniil Medvedev leaves the track after his semifinal of the Acapulco tournament on February 25, 2022. (© AFP / Archives / PEDRO PARDO)

Wimbledon could become the first tennis tournament of July reject the participation of Russian and Belarusian players due to the war in Ukraine, tennis had saved them relatively until then.

Daniil Medvedev, world number 2, Andrey Rublev (8th), but also Aryna Sabalenka (4th), Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (15th), Viktoria Azarenka (18th) … The Major on grass seems willing to do without these headliners as part of sanctions against Russia, according to the British press on Wednesday.

Even before an official announcement of the English tournament, Moscow reacted by calling it “aunacceptable such a decision.

Once again, they make athletes hostage to political prejudice, political intrigue (…) This is unacceptable.

Dmitri PeskovKremlin spokesman

Following the recommendations of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Russian and Belarusian athletes have been banned from many competitions: the Beijing Paralympic Games, the Soccer World Cup, the World Swimming Championships, and more.

In tennis, Russia and Belarus have been excluded from team competitions (Davis Cup and Billie Jean King Cup), but individually and under a neutral flag, 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.

“No war, please”

And according to the British newspaper The timesafter nearly two months of talks, Wimbledon organizers should ban the participation of Russian and Belarusian players instead of adhering to a compromise solution proposed by the British government.

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The purpose of these negotiations was for these players to sign a statement stating that they would not do so no favorable comments to the Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Wimbledon organizers believe that the signing of these statements could have one negative impact on the families of the players.

Affected players have also been discreet in their condemnation of the conflict, although Russian Andrey Rublev wrote “no war, please” on a television camera during a competition in Dubai just 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.

Belarusian Victoria Azarenka, during the Indian Wells tournament, on March 14, 2022.
Belarusian Victoria Azarenka, during the Indian Wells tournament, on March 14, 2022. (© AFP / Archives / Frederic J. BROWN)

It is heartbreaking to see how many innocent people have been and continue to be affected by this violence.

Victoria AzarenkaFormer world number 1 and Belarusian

“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.

This Wimbledon ban is likely to apply to all grass court tournaments in the UK this summer. The Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), which oversees Wimbledon’s major warm-up tournaments such as Queen’s and Eastbourne, said last week that it would follow Wimbledon’s example.

“We think that from a public point of view and from a practical implementation point of view, there needs to be an alignment (between the All England Club and the LTA, editor’s note), for it to be really clear and understandable, “he said. Scott Lloyd, CEO of the LTA. “It’s of paramount importance.”

Source: © 2022 AFP

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