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20 April 2022

Russian and Belarusian tennis players banned from Wimbledon due to invasion of Ukraine

20 April 2022

Russian and Belarusian players will not be allowed to compete at this year’s Wimbledon due to the invasion of Ukraine.

Entries from players from the two countries will be declined “with deep regret”, tournament organisers said.

Men’s world number two Daniil Medvedev of Russia and women’s world number four Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus will be among those affected by the decision.

Men’s world number two Daniil Medvedev looks set to be banned from Wimbledon (Jed Leicester/PA) (PA Archive)

All England Club chairman Ian Hewitt said: “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.”

Wimbledon said that the decision would be reconsidered if circumstances “change materially” between now and June and welcomed the LTA’s decision to also ban players from Russia and Belarus from its UK events this summer.

A statement on behalf of the All England Club and the Committee of Management of The Championships expressed ongoing support to “all those impacted by the conflict in Ukraine during these shocking and distressing times”.

It added: “We share in the universal condemnation of Russia’s illegal actions and have carefully considered the situation in the context of our duties to the players, to our community and to the broader UK public as a British sporting institution.

“We have also taken into account guidance set out by the UK Government specifically in relation to sporting bodies and events.

“Given the profile of The Championships in the United Kingdom and around the world, it is our responsibility to play our part in the widespread efforts of Government, industry, sporting and creative institutions to limit Russia’s global influence through the strongest means possible.

AELTC chairman Ian Hewitt said players from Russia and Belarus had been banned from Wimbledon with “deep regret” (Adam Davy/PA) (PA Archive)

“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.”

The LTA said in a statement that it recognised the situation in Ukraine was beyond the control of players but that banning them from competing “has the support of the British public”.

Players from the two countries have so far been permitted to continue taking part on the tennis tour but under a neutral flag and with no anthem played.

Aryna Sabalenka in action against Karolina Pliskova in their ladies’ singles semi-final at Wimbledon (John Walton/PA) (PA Archive)

Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston welcomed the “decisive action” taken by Wimbledon, adding: “The UK has taken a leading role internationally to make clear that President Putin must not be able to use sport to legitimise Russia’s barbaric invasion of Ukraine.

“Whilst the withdrawal of individual athletes is a complex issue that will divide opinion, there is a bigger cause at stake.

“We have set out our position with sport governing bodies and event organisers and will continue to encourage them to take appropriate action for their sport.”

US Open champion Medvedev reached the fourth round of Wimbledon last year, while Sabalenka was a beaten semi-finalist.

Russian world number 15 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Belarus’ Victoria Azarenka – a two-time Australian Open champion – will also miss out, along with men’s world number eight Andrey Rublev.

Wimbledon is set to take place from Monday, June 27 to Sunday, July 10.

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