Wimbledon has announced that it will not allow Russian and Belarussian athletes this year.
The ATP has slammed Wimbledon for their decision not to allow Russian and Belarussian athletes play in the tournament. The grasscourt Major took the decision following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Russian and Belarussian athletes across sports have faced the brunt following the former’s attacks on Ukraine from Belarussian soil. Wimbledon has now joined the fray, regarding the barring of athletes from Russia and Belarus at this year’s Championships.
An excerpt of The Championships’ statement read:
“It is therefore our intention, with deep regret, to decline entries from Russian and Belarusian players to The Championships 2022. “
Ian Hewitt, Chairman of the All England Club, commented:
“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.
ATP issued a swift response. It condemned SW19’s ‘unilateral’ decision to ban Russian and Belarussian athletes, terming it as one that could set a ‘damaging precedent for the sport’.
The ATP statement started by condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine:
“We strongly condemn Russia’s reprehensible invasion of Ukraine and stand in solidarity with the millions of innocent people affected by the ongoing war.”
It added that players should be allowed to compete as individuals based on their ATP rankings. The statement continued:
“Our sport is proud to operate on the fundamental principles of merit and fairness, where players compete as individuals to earn their place in tournaments based on the ATP Rankings.”
Lambasting SW19 and the LTA to bar Russian and Belarussian athletes, it added:
“We believe that today’s unilateral decision by Wimbledon and the LTA to exclude players from Russia and Belarus from this year’s British grass-court swing is unfair and has the potential to set a damaging precedent for the game. Discrimination based on nationality also constitutes a violation of our agreement with Wimbledon that states that player entry is based solely on ATP Rankings. Any course of action in response to this decision will now be assessed in consultation with our Board and Member councils.”
In contrast to Wimbledon ban, ATP tour has allowed Russian & Belarussian players to play under a neautral flag
The ATP, as of now, allows Russian and Belarussian players to compete in ATP events under a neutral flag. The statement concluded:
“It is important to stress that players from Russia and Belarus will continue to be allowed to compete at ATP events under a neutral flag, a position that has until now been shared across professional tennis. In parallel, we will continue our joint humanitarian support for Ukraine under Tennis Plays for Peace.”