After missing the edition of Wimbledon last year, tennis players born in Russia y belarus they will finally be able to compete as neutral athletes this season, as the All England Club reversed the ban it implemented last year over the invasion of Ukraine. The tournament authorities of the first Grand Slam tournament in history officially announced it this Friday.
“It was an extremely difficult decision, it was not taken lightly and there was enormous consideration for all those affected”said Ian Hewittpresident of the All England Club, in a statement clarifying that tennis players must sign declarations of neutrality and comply with the “appropriate conditions”including refraining from expressing support for the Russian invasion of Ukrainian territory.
They also cannot receive government funds from Russia o belarus, including sponsorships from companies operated or controlled by those countries. The same conditions will apply for the ATP Queens or the tournaments of the Lawn Tennis Association used by players in preparation for the oldest Grand Slam tournament.
Other tournaments have allowed them to compete as neutrals, with no mention of their nationality in the draws, official results or TV graphics. “We also believe that consistency between Grand Slams is increasingly important in today’s tennis environment”they pointed from the All England Club.
This will mark the return to this contest of the Belarusian Aryna SabalenkaAustralian Open champion, and the Russians Daniil Medvedev y Andrey Rublev, stars of the men’s circuit who will be able to compete again on British grass. Although not yet Russia in belarus are allowed to participate in the Copa Billie Jean King o to Davis cup of the International Tennis Federation.
the tournament of Wimbledon this year begins 3rd of July. The women’s final is scheduled for 15 of July and the men will play the championship a day later. In a joint statement, the ATP and the WTA They expressed their satisfaction with the decision.
“It has taken a concerted effort across the sport to come up with a viable solution, which protects the fairness of sport. It remains an extremely difficult situation, and we would like to thank Wimbledon and the LTA for their efforts in reaching this result.at the same time that we reiterate our unconditional rejection of Russia’s war in Ukraine”, said the circuits, which last year responded to the veto by not awarding points in the classification for Wimbledonsomething unprecedented in the prestigious event.
Who was not very happy was the Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, who described the measure as “immoral”. “Has Russia already stopped its aggression and atrocities? No, it’s just that Wimbledon decided to accommodate two accomplices to a crime. I call on the UK government to deny visas to its players”Kuleba wrote on social media.
(With information from AP)