Russian, Belarus tennis players banned from Wimbledon

All tennis players from Russia and Belarus have been banned from Wimbledon this year.

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All England Club, which oversees the tournament, announced the decision Wednesday. The reason is due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, The Associated Press reported.

In the statement announcing the decision, the group said, “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, to our community and to 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.”

The most prominent players who will not appear at the international tournament include U.S. Open champion Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev; Aryna Sabalenka, who was a Wimbledon semifinalist last year; Victoria Azarenka, two-time winner of the Australian Open; and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, 2021 French Open runner-up, according to the AP.

“We recognise (sic) 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, All England Club chairman, said in the statement.

Wimbledon starts on June 27.

“If circumstances change materially between now and June, we will consider and respond accordingly,” the All England Club said.

This is not the first competition that athletes from Russia and Belarus have been banned from, the AP reported.

In March, the organizations that run other major tennis tournaments allowed athletes from Russia and Belarus to compete but not under their flags.

The first Grand Slam tournament will be the French Open starting on May 22. Organizers there are expected to allow players from the two countries to compete.