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Russian tennis player changes nationality to be able to be at Wimbledon

Russian tennis player Natela Dzalamidze, 43rd in the world in the WTA doubles ranking, changed her nationality to be able to participate in the Wimbledon tournament, the British newspaper published this Sunday The Times.

The newspaper states that the 29-year-old player, who will now compete under the Georgian flag, will be in the Wimbledon doubles draw associated with Serbian Aleksandra Krunic.

In reaction to the Russian military invasion of Ukraine, The organizers of the London Grand Slam tournament decided in April to exclude all tennis players from Russia and Belarus from its 2022 edition.

quoted by the Timesa spokesman for the All England Club, which organizes Wimbledon, stressed that the tournament management could not issue an immediate reaction to the news of Dzalamidze’s change of nationality.

“The nationality of a player, defined by the flag under which he participates in professional events, is a recognized process that is governed by the circuits (the ATP in men’s tennis, the WTA in women’s) and by the International Tennis Federation. Tennis,” he recalled.

Wimbledon begins on June 27. Before the veto to Russians and Belarusians, the ATP and the WTA announced that they will not distribute points for their classifications in this edition. Among the great absentees due to the veto are the world number one, the Russian Daniil Medvedev, or the former Belarusian world number one Victoria Azarenka.

ATP rejected said measure

“In the circumstances of such unprecedented and unwarranted military aggression, it would be unacceptable for the Russian regime to derive any benefit from the participation of Russian and Belarusian players in The Championships. Therefore, it is our intention, with deep regret, to refuse entries from Russian and Belarusian players in 2022,” a statement from the tournament organizers said.

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Shortly after, the ATP, Association of Tennis Professionals, was against a “unilateral and unfair decision”. “We strongly condemn Russia’s reprehensible invasion of Ukraine and stand in solidarity with the millions of innocent people affected by the ongoing war,” he first states his statement.

“Our sport prides itself on operating on the fundamental principles of merit and fairness, where players compete individually to earn their place in tournaments based on the ATP Rankings. We believe that today’s unilateral decision by Wimbledon and the LTA to exclude players from Russia and Belarus of this year’s British grass-court tour is unfair and has the potential to set a damaging precedent for the game,” he says.

Discrimination based on nationality is also a violation of our agreement with Wimbledon which states that player entry is based solely on ATP rankings. Any action in response to this decision will now be assessed in consultation with our Board and member councils,” he adds.

The ATP recalls that in its Circuit events, players from Russia and Belarus will be allowed to compete, as before, under a neutral flag, and will continue to support Ukraine through ‘Tennis Plays for Peace’.

With information from the AFP*

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