After the ATP Tour clarified that the participation of tennis players with Russian and Belarusian nationality would not be affected despite the current invasion of Russia into Ukraine (as long as they participated under a neutral flag), the directors of the English Grand Slam (AELTC) Wimbledon have decided to go against that rule and made official today that Russian and Belarusian tennis players will not be allowed to participate in the 2022 edition of the competition, both in the men’s and women’s divisions.
The All England Lawn Tennis Club made a statement on the website of the competition, giving the reasons for such decision for the current season.
”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. 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 competition 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 within our competitions.
It is therefore our intention, with deep regret, to decline entries from Russian and Belarusian players to The Championships 2022. If circumstances change drastically between now and June, we will reconsider and respond accordingly.”.All England Lawn Tennis Club on the participation of Russian and Belarusian players in British competitions during 2022.
With this announcement and change in the competition, tennis players of great importance such as Daniil Medvedev (Russian nationality) and Aryna Sabalenka (Belarusian nationality) will not be allowed to play in the 2022 edition of Wimbledon until further notice in case the Grand Slam board changes its mind about the rule. As it is planned to start on June 27 and end on July 10, there is a considerable window of time that could provide the opportunity for a possible return.
Wimbledon is not the only competition affected, though: the statement specified that no tennis-related competition in the United Kingdom would accommodate the participation of tennis players with the aforementioned nationalities. During this time of the season, the legendary English tournament is the first to make such a radical decision across the entire ATP Tour.
Is this the right decision? Could this treatment of tennis players be considered unfair because of the conflict in which their countries are involved?