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Tennis: Wimbledon will ban Russian and Belarusian players from participating

Russian Daniil Medvedev, current world number 2, should not participate in the Wimbledon tournament this year, according to the British daily The Timeswith the organizers wishing to exclude Russian and Belarusian players due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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Since the beginning of the Russian offensive on February 24, Russian and Belarusian players have been able to continue to participate in ATP and WTA competitions under a neutral flag.

This device was supposed to extend to the three Grand Slam tournaments still to be played in 2022, while the International Federation (ITF) had banned teams from both countries from participating in the Davis Cup and the Billie Jean King Cup (ex- FedCup).

But according to the British daily The Timesafter nearly two months of talks, the organizers of Wimbledon are expected to ban the participation of Russian and Belarusian players rather than adhere to a compromise solution proposed by the British government.

These negotiations were aimed at having these players, including Medvedev and Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka, sign a declaration in which they would not make comments favorable to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Wimbledon organizers believe signing such declarations could have a negative impact on the players’ families.

This exclusion order is likely to apply to all UK grass-court tournaments this summer. The Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), which oversees major Wimbledon warm-up tournaments such as Queen’s and Eastbourne, said last week it would follow Wimbledon’s lead.

“We think that from a public point of view and from a practical implementation point of view, there needs to be an alignment (between the All England Club and the LTA, editor’s note), for it to be really clear and understood,” said Scott Lloyd , CEO of the LTA. “It is of paramount importance. »

Russian and Belarusian players have been quiet in their condemnation of the conflict, although world No.8 Russian Andrey Rublev wrote ‘no war please’ on a TV camera during a competition in Dubai immediately after the invasion.

“I want peace in the whole world”, was content to say Medvedev, recovering from an operation and uncertain for the next Roland-Garros.

Tennis: Wimbledon will ban Russian and Belarusian players from participating

Belarusian Victoria Azarenka, former world number one and crowned twice at the Australian Open, was more frank. “It is heartbreaking to see how many innocent people have been and continue to be affected by this violence,” the 32-year-old said in March.

“I have always seen and experienced Ukrainians and Belarusians as friendly people and supportive of each other. It is difficult to witness the violent separation that is currently taking place,” stressed Azarenka, currently 18and at the WTA.

Belarus is considered an ally of Russia and facilitated the invasion by allowing troops to cross its border into Ukraine.