Wimbledon banned Russian and Belarusian players from the 2022 tournament in response to the invasion of Ukraine.
The All England Lawn Tennis Club, which runs Wimbledon, said it was taking action to “limit Russia’s global influence by the strongest possible means”.
Daniil Medvedev, Russian men’s world number Daniil Medvedev and Belarusian women’s world number Aryna Sabalenka – last year’s Wimbledon semi – final – are the players most affected by the ban.
“In the circumstances of such an unwarranted and unprecedented military attack, it would be unacceptable for the Russian regime to take any advantage of the involvement of Russian or Belarusian players,” an AELTC statement said on Wednesday.
“We therefore, with great regret, intend to refuse entries from Russian and Belarusian players to Wimbledon.”
The Lawn Tennis Association has also banned Russian or Belarusian players from competing in British grass court competitions, including Wimbledon’s warm – up events at the Queen’s Club and Eastbourne.
Others hit by the ban are Russia’s Andrey Rublev, who is currently eighth in the ATP rankings, and his companion Karen Khachanov in 26th place.
Russia’s world number 15 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Belarus’ s Victoria Azarenka are two of the other best female players to miss the grass court Grand Slam.
Wimbledon, the highest of the four tennis Grand Slam events, takes place from June 27 to July 10 this year.
Currently, Russian and Belarusian players are still able to compete at the French Open, which starts in May.
“On behalf of the All-England Club and the Championship Management Committee, we would like to express our continued support to all those affected by the conflict in Ukraine during these terrible and difficult times,” a statement said. AELTC.
“We share the universal criticism of Russia’s illegal actions and have carefully considered the situation in the context of our obligations to the players, our community and the general public in the UK 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 UK and World Championships, we have a responsibility to play our part in the extensive efforts of Government, industry, sports and creative institutions to limit Russia’s global influence in the strongest possible ways. . ”
The ITF had already banned teams from both countries from the Davis Cup and the Billie Jean King Cup.
Players from Russia and Belarus have been able to compete on ATP and WTA missions since the start of the war in Ukraine, but were not allowed to use their national flags.
‘Strictly on individuals’
Wimbledon chiefs spoke to the British government earlier in April to discuss whether they should follow a policy similar to that of men and women.
“We recognize that this is difficult for the individuals concerned, and that they will be saddened by the actions of the leaders of the Russian regime,” said AELTC chairman Ian Hewitt.
Given the importance of not allowing sport to be used in the promotion of the Russian regime and our wider concern for the safety of the public and players (including families), we do not believe that it is viable to go on any other basis at the Championships. ”
The AELTC statement also said that the ban would be reconsidered if “circumstances changed materially” between now and June.
Russia reacted angrily to the reports thinking it was “unacceptable”.
“Once again they simply turn hostages into political hostages, political intrusions,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
“It simply came to our notice then. Given that Russia is a very strong tennis country, our athletes are at the top of the world rankings, and the competition itself will suffer. ”
Marta Kotyuk, world number 52 in Ukraine, criticized the silence of earlier Russian and Belarusian players.
“In times of crisis, silence means agreeing with what is happening,” she wrote in a statement sent to the ‘Tennis Community’ and published on her twitter account.
“The silence of those who choose to stay that way at the moment is unbearable because the murder continues in our homeland.
“There comes a time when silence is a betrayal, and now is the time.”
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