Russian and Belarusian tennis players finally admitted to the English Wimbledon tournament – ​​Liberation

War between Ukraine and Russiadossier

Under pressure from international tennis authorities, the organizers of the London tournament have announced that they will accept “under conditions” the participation of Russians and Belarusians, unlike last year.

The net cracked. Under pressure from the ATP, which manages the men’s professional tennis circuit, and the WTA, its counterpart for the women’s circuit, the organizers of the Wimbledon tournament announced Friday evening March 31 to accept «sous conditions» the arrival of Russians and Belarusians this year on London lawns. Despite ongoing Russian aggression in Ukraine, the English tournament – due to be held from July 3-16, 2023 – has aligned itself with the policy of other Grand Slam events.

The organizing body, the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC), has however issued several conditions: that Russian and Belarusian players “compete as ”neutral” athletes”, and he “they will be prohibited from expressing their support for the Russian invasion of Ukraine“. In addition, tennis players “receiving financial aid” from Russia or Belarus to participate in the tournament will not be admitted to the London turf.

“We always totally condemn the illegal invasion by Russia and we maintain our strong support for the people of Ukraine,” did not fail to specify the president of the AELTC, Ian Hewitt, who assured that the decision announced on Friday had been “incredibly difficult” to take.

Last year, pushed by the British government, the grass tournament refused Russian and Belarusian players, thus angering the governing bodies of the professional circuits. In response, the ATP and the WTA had decided to deprive the London tournament of ranking points, insisting on the rupture, induced by the Wimbledon decision, of the principle “fundamental“equity between all players to participate in all tournaments”according to their merit and without discrimination”.

“Protecting the Fairness” of Tennis

On Friday, the AELTC issued a semblance of a mea culpa regarding their 2022 decision: the organizers admitted that it had provoked a “strong reaction of disappointment” from “certain tennis governing bodies” and that repeating the ban this year would have had “harmful consequences for the interests of players, fans, the tournament and British tennis”.

«We are happy that all players will be able to participate in Wimbledon and the other LTA (British Tennis Federation) tournaments this summer.” commented the ATP and the WTA, praising the work done by all parties involved to arrive at a solution “which protects equity” you play tennis.

Barely qualified for the final at the Masters 1000 in Miami, the Russian Daniil Medvedev welcomed the news with joy. “I always said that if I could play at Wimbledon, I would be very happy to be there.reacted the world number 5.

In Kyiv, on the other hand, the English choice is seen as a fault. The Minister of Foreign Affairs deplored a “immoral decisionand called on the British government not to issue visas to Russian and Belarusian players. “Has Russia ended its aggression or its atrocities?launched Dmytro Kouleba via his account Twitter.

The Czech Petra Kvitova, double champion of Wimbledon, also opposed this decision. “I think Russians and Belarusians should not be allowed to play there. Nor should they be allowed in the Olympics. So I’m a bit on the Ukrainian side in this matter.she thought.

Neutral banner

Since the Russian invasion at the end of February 2022, Wimbledon has been the only one of the four Grand Slam tournaments to refuse players from these two countries. They were able to participate under a neutral banner and without mentioning their nationality at Roland-Garros, the US Open and the Australian Open.

In January, in Melbourne, support for the Russian invasion had also spread widely in the stands, many supporters displaying Russian flags covered with the “Z” in support of the invasion in Ukraine. After his son’s victory in the quarter-finals, Novak Djokovic’s father was also filmed with the Night Wolves, pro Poutine bikers.

This English reversal comes three days after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) recommended, on Tuesday March 28, the reintegration of Russians and Belarusians into international sports competitions, under a neutral banner and “individually”provided that they did not actively support the war in Ukraine.

The boss of the world Olympian, Thomas Bach, however, did not decide on their participation in the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. The IOC will decide on this the appropriate time, in its sole discretion, and without being bound by the results of qualifying competitions”he said, while Ukraine, Poland and the Baltic countries are already threatening to boycott the Paris Games in the event of Russian and Belarusian presence.

Textbook case: on March 10, the International Fencing Federation again authorized the presence of Russian and Belarusian fencers. In the aftermath, the decision prompted a protest letter signed by more than 300 fencers and the cancellation of tournaments in Germany, Denmark and France.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *