Russian Tennis Players Banned
Photo: AS USA

On Wednesday, the All England Club declared that Russian and Belarusian tennis players would be banned from playing in Wimbledon due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Belarus’ support for the current conflict.

Wimbledon will be the first tennis tournament to exclude individual competitors from competing as a result of the ban. Wimbledon is set to begin on June 27.

“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,” a statement from The All England Lawn Tennis Club said on Wednesday.

“It is, therefore, our intention, with deep regret, to decline entries from Russian and Belarusian players to Wimbledon.”

Here is the full statement:

“On behalf of the All England Club and the Committee of Management of The Championships, we wish to express our ongoing support for all those impacted by the conflict in Ukraine during these shocking and distressing times.

“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, our community, and 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.

“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.

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“Ian Hewitt, Chairman of the All England Club, commented: “We recognize 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 the 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.”

“If circumstances change materially between now and June, we will consider and respond accordingly.

Many highly-rated players, including No. 2 Daniil Medvedev (Russia) and No. 8 Andrey Rublev (Russia) in the men’s field and No. 15 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (Russia) in the women’s field, will be affected by the decision. In the women’s field, No. 4 Aryna Sabalenka (Belarus) and No. 18 Victoria Azarenka (Belarus) would also be disqualified.

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