Politics is meddling in sports again. Wimbledon is banning Russian and Belarusian tennis players from this year’s tournament in a move that ATP finds “discriminatory.” Daniil Medvedev and Victoria Azarenka, among others, won’t be allowed to play.
“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 All England Club and the Committee of Management of The Championships said in a statement.
Ian Hewitt, Chairman of the All England Club, said that they fully recognize the impact of this decision “ on the individuals affected, and it is with sadness that they will suffer for the actions of the leaders of the Russian regime.”
ATP however finds this decision to be a discriminatory one. “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.”
ATP adds that “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.”
Tennis players players from Russia and Belarus “will continue to be allowed to compete at ATP events under a neutral flag.”
Russian and Belarusian tennis players are yet expected to make a statement.