The organisers of Wimbledon are on the verge of declaring a complete ban on all players from Russia and Belarus from competing in this year’s tournament.
Daniil Medvedev, the world No. 2, and former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka will be unable to play at the All England Club this summer due to Ukraine’s ongoing invasion by military forces from the two aforementioned countries.
Wimbledon will become the first tennis major to ban Russians and Belarusians. They are currently able to compete as neutral athletes on the ATP and WTA tours, and they have been allowed to enter the French Open next month.
According to The Times, after nearly two months of talks between the All England Club and the UK government, a decision has been made. Officials from the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) suggested that players sign a written private declaration promising not to make comments in support of Russian President Vladimir Putin, but Wimbledon organizers decided that a ban was more practical due to the risks that an effective denunciation could pose to the players’ families.
Since Russian advances in eastern Ukraine have undermined the prospect of a peaceful solution between Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in the next weeks, Wimbledon organizers believe it is best to move ahead with a full ban now.
After the LTA expressed a preference last week to follow Wimbledon’s lead, it is likely that this will apply to all British grass-court competitions this summer. The governing body of British tennis organizes a number of pre-tournament events, including the Queen’s Club Championships and the Eastbourne International.
“We think from a public perspective and indeed a practical implementation perspective that there needs to be alignment [between the All England Club and LTA], so it is really clear and understood,” Scott Lloyd, the LTA chief executive said. “That is critically important.”
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