Tennis: Report: Wimbledon will exclude Russian players

Russian tennis players will not be allowed to compete at Wimbledon, the prestigious third Grand Slam of the season, in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Sportico reported on Tuesday night.

The All England Club would become the first tennis organization to outright refuse the Russians. The ATP and WTA Tours and the International Tennis Federation have allowed players from Russia and its ally Belarus to continue to compete, but they are not allowed to display their national flags or play their national anthems.

Additionally, Russia and Belarus have been banned from team competitions such as the Davis Cup and Billie Jean King Cup.

The move would prevent world number 2 Daniil Medvedev and world number 8 Andrey Rublev from participating in the Wimbledon men’s draw. Rublev made headlines last month when he wrote “no war please” on a TV camera lens after winning a game in Dubai.

On the women’s side, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (ranked n°15), Daria Kasatkina (n°26) and Veronika Kudermetova (n°29) would be among those affected by the judgment.

Sportico’s report said it was unclear whether players from Belarus, who have shown political support for Russian President Vladimir Putin, would also be banned. Two highly ranked players, Aryna Sabalenka (#4) and Victoria Azarenka (#18), hail from Belarus.

Several outlets have previously reported that UK government officials are in talks with the Lawn Tennis Association and are considering implementing a ban on Russian athletes at Wimbledon.

“We are in very close dialogue with the All England Club, the government, with the tours,” LTA chief executive Steve Lloyd said this month. “We are very aware of public sentiment in this area. We are trying to navigate what it must look like at summer events in Britain this year.”

Britain’s sports minister Nigel Huddleston said in March that “absolutely no one flying the flag of Russia should be allowed or permitted” in Britain, putting forward the idea that Russian athletes could be vetted for what concerns their allegiance to Putin.

The West has already reacted to Russia’s invasion in other individual sports. Runners from Russia and Belarus were barred from competing in the Boston Marathon, which took place earlier this week. Russian Paralympians were withdrawn from the Paralympic Winter Games shortly after the invasion began.

Wimbledon is due to start on June 27.

–Field-Level Media

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