Wimbledon release statement on Russian tennis players banned from tournament

Wimbledon have confirmed Russian and Belarusian tennis players are banned from this year's tournament.

The decision has been made in light of the war in Ukraine. It means men's world number two Daniil Medvedev of Russia and women's world number four Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus will not be able to compete at The Championships, which get underway in late June.

A statement from the All England Lawn Tennis Club read: "Given the profile of The Championships in the United Kingdom and around the world, it is our responsibility to play our part in the widespread efforts of Government, industry, sporting and creative institutions to limit Russia’s global influence through the strongest means possible.

"In the circumstances of such unjustified and unprecedented military aggression, it would be unacceptable for the Russian regime to derive any benefits from the involvement of Russian or Belarusian players with The Championships."

All England Club chairman Ian Hewitt added: “We recognise that this is hard on the individuals affected, and it is with sadness that they will suffer for the actions of the leaders of the Russian regime.

"We have very carefully considered the alternative measures that might be taken within the UK Government guidance but, given the high profile environment of The Championships, the importance of not allowing sport to be used to promote the Russian regime and our broader concerns for public and player (including family) safety, we do not believe it is viable to proceed on any other basis at The Championships."

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As well as reigning US Open champ Medvedev and Sabalenka, Russian world number 15 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and 18th-ranked Victoria Azarenka of Belarus will miss out from the women's single rankings, while Andrey Rublev, the men's world number eight, is impacted too.

The Wimbledon organisers consulted the government about the involvement of Russian and Belarusian players earlier this month. Discussed plans included them signing anti-Vladimir Putin forms to be allowed to play.

However, it's believed the prospect of a Royal family member handing over the trophy to a Russian or Belarusian player, as is often the case following the finals, was a cause for concern.

The decision was therefore made to ban them altogether while Russia continue their invasion of Ukraine, which has seen several of their sports stars impacted as a result.

The Lawn Tennis Association has also banned Russians and Belarusians from grass-court events at Queen’s Club, Nottingham, Birmingham or Eastbourne.

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