Wimbledon has banned Russian and Belarusian players from the tournament’s 2022 edition this summer, according to reports. The decision – in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine – would break from current protocol on the tennis circuit which has seen Russian players still able to compete, but in a neutral capacity.
Wimbledon has confirmed that it has banned Russian and Belarusian athletes from competing at the 2022 championships. .
The All England Club’s decision – in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine – would be the first time Russian players have been expressly prohibited from competing in an elite tennis event, with ATP, WTA and ITF tournaments thus far allowing Russians – and Belarussians – to take part, albeit in a neutral capacity without displaying their national flag or having their national anthem played.
The ITF has however banned Russia and Belarus from the Davis Cup and the Billie Jean King Cup, events where players compete for their country.
Notable absentees from the third Grand Slam of the year will Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev on the men’s side, with the likes of Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Daria Kasatkina likely to miss out on the women’s event.
In total there are four Russian men ranked in the ATP top 100, with eight Russian women in the WTA equivalent.
“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,” a statement from Wimbledon said. “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.
“In the circumstances of such unjustified and unprecedented military aggression, it would be unacceptable for the Russian regime to derive any benefits from the involvement of Russian or Belarusian players with The Championships.
“It is therefore our intention, with deep regret, to decline entries from Russian and Belarusian players to The Championships 2022.
“If circumstances change materially between now and June, we will consider and respond accordingly.
“We also welcome the LTA’s decision in declining entries from Russian and Belarusian players to UK events to ensure that British tennis is delivering a consistent approach across the summer.”
Ian Hewitt, Chairman of the All England Club, added “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.
“We have very carefully considered the alternative measures that might be taken within the UK Government guidance 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 at The Championships.”
On Sunday, LTA chief executive Scott Lloyd had spoken to reporters in Prague, where Great Britain were playing the Czech Republic in the Billie Jean King Cup, and intimated then that decisions were close.
Lloyd said: “It is an enormously complex situation. I think we are all aligned in finding the actions that we see in our papers and TV screens absolutely abhorrent.
“We are in very close dialogue with the All England Club, the government, with the tours. We are very conscious of public sentiment in this area.
“We are trying to navigate what that needs to look like in the summer events in Britain this year.”