Ukraine news: Wimbledon drops ban on Russians

London –

Russian and Belarusian players will be allowed to compete at Wimbledon as neutral athletes after the All England Club lifted its ban from last year on Friday.

Players must sign a Neutrality Declaration and abide by “appropriate terms” including not expressing support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

All England Club president Ian Hewitt said in a statement: “This is a very difficult decision to make and one that was not taken lightly or without consideration for those affected.

Players may not receive funds from the Russian or Belarusian State, including sponsorships from companies operated or controlled by the Russian or Belarusian State.

Australian Open champion Alina Sabalenka of Belarus and Russian players Daniil Medvedev and Andrei Rublev are among those who could return.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleva denounced the reversal as “immoral”.

“Has Russia stopped aggression and atrocities? No, Wimbledon just decided to imprison two accomplices in a crime. I ask the British government to deny visas to their players. ‘” Kreba wrote on Twitter.

Other tennis tournaments allow players from Russia and Belarus to compete as neutral players, but their nationalities are not listed in the brackets, official results, or graphics of the telecast of the match. , like other team sports, Russia and Belarus are not allowed to participate in the Billie Jean King Cup or Davis Cup by the International Tennis Federation.

The All England Club said: “In today’s tennis environment, we believe collaboration between Grand Slams is becoming more and more important.

The same terms apply to Lawn Tennis Association tournaments where players use the grass courts as a warm-up for the sport’s oldest Grand Slam tournament.

During last year’s women’s and men’s professional tennis tours, the LTA was fined hefty and threatened to cancel the tournament. The LTA said the impact of being expelled from the Tour would be “extremely damaging and would have a significant impact on our country’s game.”

The ATP and WTA also responded to last year’s ban by not awarding Wimbledon ranking points.

“The position taken by the All England Club and the LTA last year saw a strong and very disappointing reaction from some of tennis’s governing bodies, and if it continues, players, fans, championships and competitions will suffer. “British tennis,” the club said.

This year’s Wimbledon tournament kicks off on July 3rd. The women’s final is scheduled for his July 15th and the men’s final for his July 16th.

“It’s a beautiful tournament, a beautiful Grand Slam. I’m really happy to play there this year,” Medvedev said after winning the Miami Open semifinal against Russia’s Karen Khachanov on Friday. “I don’t know what the reaction of the crowd will be. I can’t control it, but I’m happy to play in front of everyone, hopefully on a big court. Hopefully we’ll have some big, great matches. Let’s go

Also at Miami Gardens, Fla., two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova said Russian and Belarusian athletes should continue to be banned from both Wimbledon and the Olympics.

“Certainly, I am more worried about the Ukrainian people and the players. I am grateful that last year’s Wimbledon, where Belarusians and Russians did not play, did not give (ranking) points and struggled. I don’t think they should.” In fact, they will be allowed,” Kvitova said. “I’m still a little bit on the Ukrainian side.”

Martina Navratilova, a nine-time Wimbledon singles title winner, said she supported the change. I wrote.

The All England Club said the terms had been developed through consultation with the UK government, the LTA and “an international stakeholder group in tennis”.

The club’s statement referred to a “personal declaration of the player”, but did not provide further details. The LTA said players and support staff “must sign a neutrality declaration” similar to those used in other sports.

In a joint statement, the ATP and WTA said they were pleased with the outcome.

“It took a concerted effort across the sport to arrive at a viable solution that protects the fairness of the game,” Tour said. “This remains a very difficult situation and we thank Wimbledon and the LTA for their efforts to reach this result and reiterate our clear condemnation of Russia’s war against Ukraine.”

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