Russia and Belarus tennis players are banned from participating in this year’s Wimbledon, the organisers announced on Wednesday (April 20).
The decision comes after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24. The war is still continuing resulting in a major humanitarian crisis. Belarus has not been directly involved in the war but it is supporting Russia.
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The suspension means men’s world number two Daniil Medvedev (Russia), Andrey Rublev (men’s No. 8), and women’s world No. 4 Aryna Sabalenka (Belarus) will be the top-ranked players missing this year in London.
The tournament’s organiser All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) announced the decision with “deep regret”. Wimbledon will be played from June 27 to July 10.
“In the circumstances of such unjustified and unprecedented military aggression, it would be unacceptable for the Russian regime to derive any benefits from the involvement of Russian or Belarusian players with The Championships.
“It is therefore our intention, with deep regret, to decline entries from Russian and Belarusian players to The Championships 2022. If circumstances change materially between now and June, we will consider and respond accordingly,” AELTC said in a statement.
Statement regarding Russian and Belarusian individuals at The Championships 2022.
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) April 20, 2022
Ian Hewitt, Chairman of the All England Club, commented, “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.
“We have very carefully considered the alternative measures that might be taken within the UK Government guidance but, given the high profile environment of The Championships, the importance of not allowing sport to be used to promote the Russian regime and our broader concerns for public and player (including family) safety, we do not believe it is viable to proceed on any other basis at The Championships.”
Last month, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) suspended Russian and Belarusian players from participating in all ITF competitions. However, it added that all players from Russia and Belarus will continue to be allowed to compete in international tennis events as individuals. However, they will not compete under the name or flag of Russia or Belarus until further notice.
“The International Tennis Federation (ITF) condemns Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its facilitation by Belarus. In addition to the cancellation of all ITF events in those countries, the ITF Board has today announced the immediate suspension of the Russian Tennis Federation (RTF) and Belarus Tennis Federation (BTF) from ITF membership and from participation in ITF international team competition until further notice,” ITF said.
The WTA and ATP Boards have suspended the WTA / ATP combined event, scheduled in October in Moscow.