Daniil Medvedev and his fellow Russian players will be barred from this year’s Wimbledon with the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) opting to take a strict stance after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to a report in Sportico.
If confirmed, then AELTC’s decision is in contrast to that of the ATP, WTA and ITF who have allowed Russian and Belarusian athletes to continue playing, but as individuals under a neutral flag and with no anthems played.
The reported move comes on the back of UK Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston initially warning that players will have to denounce Russian President Vladimir Putin before going further and suggesting they will have to sign a written declaration that they don’t support the regime.
Huddleston added that “if some individual sports or entities choose to do an outright ban of Russian or Belarusian athletes, then we will support that as well”.
Wimbledon chiefs confirmed last week that they were in discussions with the government, but admitted that it was “an enormously complex situation”.
It appears that Wimbledon officials have opted for a tougher stance against Russian players, but the report from sports industry website Sportico claimed it was unclear if Belarusian players will also be banned.
AELTC is yet to comment on the report, but they were expected to make an announcement in mid-May.
Besides world No 2 Medvedev, Andrey Rublev (world No 8), Karen Khachanov (26) and Aslan Karatsev (30) were also set to have direct entries into the main draw on the men’s side while world No 15 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and world No 26 Daria Kasatkina are in the top 100 in the WTA Rankings.
World No 4 Aryna Sabalenka and two-time Grand Slam winner and world No 18 Victoria Azarenka are the highest-ranked Belarusian players in the WTA, but it remains to be seen if they will be allowed to compete despite their country’s support of the Russian invasion.