Valencia. Leaders of Wimbledon, the third Grand Slam of the season, are in talks with the UK government to try to prevent objections to Russian and Belarusian tennis players participating in this year's tournament.
Some reports suggest that world number two Daniil Medvedev could be ruled out of the tournament over fears that a Russian victory would strengthen Vladimir Putin's regime amid the invasion of Ukraine.
Until now, Russian and Belarusian tennis players have been allowed to continue playing in ATP, WTA and ITF competitions as long as they do so under a neutral flag and without playing their national anthems.
But it is understood that the All England Club, which hosts Wimbledon, could implement a ban on players from those countries without risking legal repercussions due to its status as an independent tournament.
Organizers are currently in contact with a number of bodies, including the Government and the Great Britain Tennis Association, before announcing the ruling ahead of next month's registration deadline.
A statement from the All England Club said: “We have taken note of the UK Government’s guidance regarding the attendance of neutral players from Russia and Belarus at sporting events in the UK.”
He added: “This remains a complex and challenging issue, and we continue to engage in discussions with the UK Government, the LTA and international tennis governing bodies. We plan to announce a decision regarding Wimbledon before the registration deadline in mid-May.” . Wimbledon is scheduled to be held from Monday, June 27, to Sunday, July 10.
British Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston called on all Russian and Belarusian athletes to prove they are “truly neutral” and ensure they do not support or receive money from Putin or the Russian regime.
US Open champion Medvedev is currently the highest-profile tennis player from those countries. It is doubtful that the 26-year-old will play in the upcoming Roland Garros tournament after undergoing hernia surgery.
His compatriot Andrey Rublev is ranked eighth in the men's world rankings, while Karen Khachanov and Aslan Karatsev are in 24th and 31st place, respectively, and Belarusian Ilya Ivashka is in 42nd place.
Belarusian players Aryna Sabalenka and Victoria Azarenka are among the top 50 players in the WTA rankings, as are Russians Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Veronika Kudermetova, Daria Kasatkina and Ludmila Samsonova.
When specifically asked last month whether Medvedev would be allowed to participate in Wimbledon this year, Huddleston was clear. “Absolutely, no one flying the Russian flag should be permitted or permitted. We need some potential guarantees that they are not supporters of Vladimir Putin. We are studying what requirements we might need,” he said.
“When it comes to individuals, it becomes a bit more complex, so we look at different sports and talk to them in terms of what the response and requirements should be,” he concluded.
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