Tennis: Wimbledon excludes Russian and Belarusian players

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.

Therefore, Daniil Medvedev, No. 2 in the world, Andrey Rublev (8th), Aryna Sabalenka (4th and semifinalist last year), Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (15th) and Viktoria Azarenka (former No. 1 today 18th) will not fail -ho. defend your opportunities 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, athletes are being held hostage to political prejudice, political intrigue (…) It’s unacceptable,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, even before the official announcement of the tournament.

Following the recommendations of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Russian and Belarusian athletes have been banned from numerous athletics and figure skating competitions, as well as the Beijing Paralympic Games, the Soccer World Cup, the World Championships. Swimming …

In tennis, tournaments have been canceled in Russia and Belarus, while the two nations have been excluded from team competitions (Davis Cup and Billie Jean King Cup, both won by Russia last year). 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.

– Two months of conversations –

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 been silenced in their condemnation of the conflict, although Russian Andrey Rublev wrote “No war please” to a television camera during a competition in Dubai shortly after the invasion.

“I want peace around the world,” Medvedev said, recovering from surgery.

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.

– “We demand exclusion” –

“I have always seen and experienced Ukrainians and Belarusians as friendly and supportive people. It is difficult to witness the violent separation that is currently taking place,” Azarenka said.

These statements are considered insufficient by Ukrainian players, including Elina Svitolina (ex-N.5) who is asking the ATP and the WTA to exclude Russians and Belarusians if they do not answer correctly three questions set out in a press release: “Do you 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.

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.”

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