As the war in the Ukraine drones on, Russian athletes are finding it more difficult to ply their trade.
The Boston Marathon banned all Russian and Belarusian athletes from participating in the annual marathon race.
On April 20, the All England Club announced that Russian and Belarusian tennis players will not be permitted to participate in the 2022 Wimbledon Tournament.
Some of the more prominent names that are banned from the prestigious tennis tournament are Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev, Aryna Sabalenka, Victoria Azarenka, and Anatasia Pavlyuchenkova.
The annual grass court Grand Slam tennis tournament is set to begin on June 27.
The All England Club announced last month that they were in discussions with the British government over whether or not the Russian and Belarusian athletes should be allowed to be a part of the tournament.
The All England Club issued a statement saying, “it is our responsibility to play our part in the widespread efforts … 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.”
Wimbledon joins soccer – including the World Cup -, figure skating, and track and field in banning Russian and Belarusian athletes since Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine in February.
This marks the first time the All England Club has banned such players from the tournament. The ATP has called the action a “unilateral decision and unfair” decision. Adding “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.” And the move “has the potential to set a damaging precedent for the game.”
The WTA was “very disappointed” with the decision saying, “as the WTA has consistently stated, individual athletes should not be penalized or prevented from competing due to where they are from, or the decisions made by the governments of their countries. The WTA will be evaluating its next steps and what actions may be taken regarding these decisions.”
Previously, the various tennis organizations have been permitting Russian and Belarusian players to participate in tournaments but not under their nation’s flags.
The All England Club has said that should matters change between now and the tournament’s beginning, they will react accordingly. All England Club chairman Ian Hewitt spoke on the situation saying, “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.”
feature photo credit: Ivanovic-Shvedova-Lenglen-RG2015.jpg