Wimbledon A No-Go For Russian and Belarusian Tennis Players


Wimbledon 2022 won’t be open to any players of Russian or Belarusian descent. The controversial announcement was made by organisers earlier this week.

No Wimbledon For Russians And Belarusians

Tennis men’s world No. 1 Novak Djokovic this week criticized the All England Club’s decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players from competing at the 2022 edition of Wimbledon.

The club’s decision means some of the world’s best players, including world No. 2 Daniel Medvedev, women’s No. 4 Aryna Sabalenka, and men’s No. 8 Andrey Rublev will not be permitted to compete in the Grand Slam tournament of the year.

According to the Serbian, who spoke at the Serbia Open on Wednesday, being from a specific country should never have the power to single out anybody as a “child of war”. Djokovic explained that being from Serbia, he knows what it feels like to be discriminated against on the basis of country of origan and/or nationality.

He also said that allowing politics to interfere with sport is asking for trouble.

Many To Miss Out

Of those players who won’t be permitted to compete at Wimbledon this year, several have managed to reach the highest ranks of the popular Grand Slam tournament, including Medvedev (first round – 2021), and Sabalenka (previous semi-finalist).

Also set to sit out will be two-time Australian Open winner Victoria Azarenka, who hails from Belarus, and Russian world No. 15, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

According to a statement released by the All England Club on Wednesday, the organisers share in the global “condemnation” of Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine. The statement referred to the invasion as illegal and in direct contrast to its own responsibility towards players, the Wimbledon community, and also the UK public at large.

The club did however say that should circumstances surrounding the war change between now and June, it will be willing to reconsider its decision.

All England Club Responds

Also commenting in person this week had been Ian Hewitt, who is the current chairman of the All England Club. Hewitt said the club as a collective fully acknowledges how challenging the effects of the decision must be on the individual players affected thereby. He said the members of the club are saddened by the fact that individual players will have to suffer because of the regrettable actions of Russia and Vladimir Putin and that it’s an unfair gamble unlike one that you’d find at an online gambling casino.

Hewitt furthermore went on to explain that all alternative measures had been considered with great care, but that given Russia’s want of using sport as a tool for promoting its political agenda, the decision is the only logical one in terms of protecting the event and its players.

The decision has in the meantime been greatly welcomed by UK Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston, who described the ruling as significant and a show of real and necessary action. He said the UK as a country has long assumed a leading role internationally in terms of a demand that Putin not be placed in a position to use sport to justify the invasion of Ukraine in any way, shape, or form.

But according to Elina Svitolina, a former favourite and Ukrainian world No. 3, it would be better for Russian and Belarusian players and athletes to be given the opportunity to speak out against the war on a global stage. She said those willing to renounce Putin and the war should be allowed to participate in international sporting events.


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