Tennis-Russian players to be barred from competing at Wimbledon – report
(Reuters) -Russian players will not be allowed to compete at Wimbledon this year due to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, according to a report in sports industry news site Sportico on Tuesday.
Earlier this month, the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC), which organises the grasscourt Grand Slam, said it was in talks with the British government on the participation of players from Russia and Belarus.
The organisers said it planned to announce a decision in mid-May ahead of the entry deadline for the June 27-July 10 tournament.
The AELTC did not immediately respond to request for comment on the report, but an official announcement is expected later on Wednesday.
A ban on Russian players would prevent world number two Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev, ranked eighth, from competing in the men’s draw. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova is 15th in the women’s rankings.
The report said it was unclear whether players from Belarus would also be banned. Belarus is a key staging area for the invasion, which Russia calls a “special operation”.
Tennis governing bodies banned Russia and Belarus from international team competitions following the invasion. Individual players are allowed to compete on tours but not under the name or flag of their countries.
Russian Tennis Federation president Shamil Tarpischev told the country’s Sport Express newspaper that there was nothing it could do.
“I think this decision is wrong but there is nothing we can change,” Tarpischev said. “The (Russian) Tennis Federation has already done everything it could.
“I don’t want to talk about this, but I will say that this decision goes against the athletes… We are working on the situation, that’s all I can say.”
Wimbledon has not banned athletes from countries since after World War Two, when players from Germany and Japan were not allowed to compete.
Earlier, Ukrainian players Elina Svitolina and Marta Kostyuk issued statements calling for a blanket ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes from international events.
International athlete-led pressure group Global Athlete said banning players from the two countries would also “protect these athletes who have no choice to remove themselves from competitions.”
“These athletes must follow the orders from their countries’ leaders,” it added.
British Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston said last month that he would not be comfortable with a “Russian athlete flying the Russian flag” and winning Wimbledon in London.
(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai and Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; editing by Peter Rutherford and Christian Radnedge)