Tennis players from Russia and Belarus will be allowed to compete at Wimbledon this summer.
The decision to suspend the player was met with criticism even within tennis at the time, with some expected a reversal. “damageTo the sport’s most prestigious tournaments, and to tennis itself.
The biggest beneficiaries of the move are January’s Australian Open winner and world No. 2 Belarusian Alina Sabalenka and 2021 US Open winner and No. 5 men’s Daniil Medvedev. .
Medvedev said he has been watching developments over the past week as rumors circulated that Prohibition will be lifted and was thrilled to see the news this morning.
“I always said I love this tournament,” Medvedev said, despite being the only Grand Slam to not reach the quarterfinals. “Beautiful tournament. Beautiful Grand Slam. I’m really happy to play again this year.”
To qualify under Wimbledon’s new rules, Russian and Belarusian players must compete as “neutral athletes”, without national anthems, flags or other nationalistic pretensions. Must not express support for Russian aggression in Ukraine. Sponsorships from state-owned enterprises are also prohibited.
Many sports have moved swiftly to create sporting pariahs with Russia and Belarus as punishment for their country’s role in Ukraine’s aggression. It was a joint move with the British Lawn Tennis Association, which governs the sport in Ukraine, and was harshly criticized across the sport as a troubling precedent.
In a statement released on Friday, All England Club president Ian Hewitt said the organization will continue to condemn the aggression and support the people of Ukraine.
“This was a very difficult decision to make, and it wasn’t taken lightly or with a lack of consideration for those affected,” said Hewitt. “Given all factors, it is our view that these are the most appropriate arrangements for this year’s championship.”
Hewitt said the club would reconsider its position ahead of the tournament scheduled to start on July 3 if circumstances change.
Like most Olympic sports, tennis has banded together to ban the national symbols of Russia and Belarus, banning these countries from playing in team competitions.
However, only Wimbledon and the LTA have banned players from participating in the event. This is a move strongly supported by the UK Parliament.
The men’s and women’s professional tours, the ATP and WTA, have punished Wimbledon by choosing not to award ranking points for tournament wins. The move was an attempt to turn the event into something of an exhibition, but it also hit several top players on the tour, including Novak Djokovic and Jelena Rybakina.
Additionally, a native Russian would win the tournament as Rybakina, who was born and raised in Russia and started playing in Kazakhstan at the age of 18, won the women’s singles title.
In a joint statement on Friday, the ATP and WTA, which represent the players and the tournament, said: “We are delighted that all players will have the opportunity to compete. Wimbledon LTA event this summer. It took a concerted effort across the sport to arrive at a workable solution that protects the fairness of the game. The Tour also reiterated its “clear condemnation of Russia’s war against Ukraine.”
The decision has its opponents, including several prominent players. His two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova said Russian and Belarusian athletes should not be allowed to compete at either Wimbledon or the Olympics. “I’m on the Ukrainian side,” Kvitova said on Friday after beating Romania’s Sorana Cirstea in the semi-finals.
Athletes from Russia and Belarus expressed disappointment with last year’s decision, but did not contest it before the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
In recent months, many top players, including Djokovic, have condemned the war, but have also said Russian and Belarusian players should be allowed to play, although they have so far publicly criticized the Russian or Belarusian players. The only player is Daria Kasatkina of Russia.The war she did in the video she posted continued over the summer. Another Russian, Andrei Rublev, appeared in the video and said he agreed with what she said, although he himself was not openly critical.
Sabalenka said in Australia that if anything could be done to change what was happening in Ukraine, she would do it. Victoria Her Azarenka, also from Belarus and a member of the WTA Tour’s Players’ Council, has offered to participate in a fundraising exhibition for victims of war in Ukraine ahead of the US Open. But eventually a Ukrainian player asked for it. she won’t participate
Ukrainian players were forced to leave the country. Several, including Lesia Tsurenko and Dayana Yastremska, have lobbied to ban Russian and Belarusian players from competing in professional tournaments unless they express their opposition to the war.
Although there has been little contact between Ukrainian, Russian and Belarusian players over the past year, Kasatkina said he received multiple messages of gratitude from Ukrainian players after posting the video.
The All England Club’s move comes days after the International Olympic Committee announced it would push for Russian and Belarusian athletes to participate in the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris. Tennis has shown that players from these countries can compete unimpeded even with Ukrainian players.
Players from Russia continue to excel in the game. On Friday afternoon, Medvedev defeated his compatriot Karen Khachanov in one of his biggest tournaments of the year outside of a Grand Slam, Miami in the semi-finals of the Open. advanced to the final. Ryvakina will play in Saturday’s women’s final.
After losing to Medvedev, Khachanov said he hadn’t looked at his phone all morning and didn’t know he was going to play at Wimbledon until after the match.
Khachanov, who reached the quarterfinals at Wimbledon in 2021, made tennis history by saying that “all the Russian and Belarusian players have said before that they want to play there”. ”