New Delhi: Russian and Belarusian tennis players have been banned from taking part in this year’s Wimbledon. The All England Club condemned President Vladimir Putin’s ‘Unjustified and unprecedented military action’ in Ukraine. Players of these two nations now won’t be able to play in the much-awaited grand slam of the year 2020, scheduled to start on June 27.
Wimbledon has now become the first major tournament to impose a full ban on the Russian and Belarusian players as individuals because of the ongoing war in Ukraine. This means, second-ranked Daniil Medvedev won’t play at the grass-court this year.
Belarus has fully supported the Russian military in the war against Ukraine by allowing their troops to use their country as a staging ground.
Statement regarding Russian and Belarusian individuals at The Championships 2022.
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) April 20, 2022
Players from Russia and Belarus have been allowed by the International Tennis Federation, ATP, and WTA to continue competing without displaying their national flags or playing their national anthems.
In a statement, 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.”
Ahead of the ban, Kremlin had said that banning Russian tennis players from Wimbledon over Moscow’s military campaign in Ukraine would be “unacceptable, AFP reported.” “This is unacceptable,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
“Once again they simply turn athletes into hostages to political prejudice, political intrigues,” he added.