Tennis: Russian, Belarusian players barred from Wimbledon, British events

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(REUTERS) – Tennis players from Russia and Belarus won’t be allowed to compete at this yr’s Wimbledon resulting from Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, the Grand Slam’s organisers All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) mentioned in a press release on Wednesday (April 20).

The AELTC mentioned earlier this month it was in talks with the British authorities on the participation of players from Russia and Belarus within the June 27-July 10 grasscourt Grand Slam.

The physique added on Wednesday that it had a accountability to play its half within the efforts of presidency, business, sporting and inventive establishments to “limit Russia’s global influence through the strongest means possible.”

“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,” Ian Hewitt, chairman of the AELTC mentioned in a press release.

Hewitt mentioned the AELTC had “carefully considered” different measures that is perhaps taken throughout the UK Government steering.

“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,” he mentioned.

The AELTC, which earlier deliberate to announce a call in mid-May earlier than the entry deadline for the occasion, mentioned it could “consider and respond accordingly” if circumstances change between now and June.

A ban on Russian players prevents world quantity two Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev, ranked eighth, from competing within the males’s draw. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova is fifteenth within the ladies’s rankings.

Belarus is a key staging space for the invasion, which Russia calls a “special military operation.”

Women’s world quantity 4 Aryna Sabalenka and two-times Grand Slam champion Victoria Azarenka of Belarus might be affected. Tennis governing our bodies had banned Russia and Belarus from worldwide staff competitions following the invasion. Individual players are contractors and many don’t reside of their nation of beginning.

Russian and Belarusian players had been allowed to compete on excursions however not below the title or flag of their international locations. Russian Tennis Federation president Shamil Tarpischev informed the nation’s Sport Express newspaper earlier that there was nothing it may do.

“I think this decision is wrong but there is nothing we can change,” Tarpischev mentioned. “The (Russian) Tennis Federation has already done everything it could. “I don’t want to talk about this, but I will say that this decision goes against the athletes… We are working on the situation, that’s all I can say.”

Wimbledon has not banned athletes from international locations since after World War II, when players from Germany and Japan weren’t allowed to compete.

The Lawn Tennis Association, whose events function Wimbledon warm-ups, additionally introduced a ban on players from the 2 international locations. Earlier, Ukrainian players Elina Svitolina and Marta Kostyuk issued statements calling for a blanket ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes from worldwide events.

They had been joined by countryman Sergiy Stakhovsky – who had enlisted in Ukraine’s reserve military previous to Russia’s invasion – with the players urging Russian and Belarusian players to clarify their stance on the warfare.

International athlete-led stress group Global Athlete mentioned that banning players from the 2 international locations would additionally “protect these athletes who have no choice to remove themselves from competitions.”

“These athletes must follow the orders from their countries’leaders,” it added. British Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston mentioned final month that he wouldn’t be comfy with a “Russian athlete flying the Russian flag” and successful Wimbledon in London. Huddleston welcomed the most recent resolution.

“The UK has taken a leading role internationally to make clear that President (Vladimir) Putin must not be able to use sport to legitimise Russia’s barbaric invasion of Ukraine,” Huddleston mentioned in a press release. “…We have set out our position with sport governing bodies and event organisers and will continue to encourage them to take appropriate action for their sport.”

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