Russian and Belarusian tennis gamers will likely be banned from competing on this yr’s Wimbledon resulting from Russia’s warfare on Ukraine and Belarusia’s help for it, event officers mentioned Wednesday.
A ban, imposed by Wimbledon host All England Membership towards particular person athletes from each international locations, is the primary in a tennis event because of the invasion.
It excludes a lot of extremely ranked Russian gamers, together with No. 2 Daniil Medvedev, the reigning U.S. Open champion, and former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka. Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka, who was a Wimbledon semifinalist final yr, is ranked No. 4.
“We acknowledge that that is laborious on the people affected, and it’s with unhappiness that they’ll undergo for the actions of the leaders of the Russian regime,” All England Membership Chair Ian Hewitt said in a statement.
A Kremlin spokesperson known as a ban “unacceptable.”
“As soon as once more they merely flip athletes into hostages to political prejudice, political intrigues,” spokesperson Dmitry Peskov instructed reporters, in keeping with The Moscow Times.
The choice to exclude Russian gamers from the London occasion was reportedly heightened by the British royal household’s objection to the potential of presenting the Wimbledon trophy to a Russian athlete, The Telegraph reported.
The British authorities had previously said Russian gamers must denounce their authorities and President Vladimir Putin as a way to compete.
Russian athletes have confronted a wide range of bans from worldwide sports activities since their nation’s invasion of Ukraine in late February. Belarus has been affected because of the nation’s help of the invasion and its chief’s alliance with Putin.
Russian officers and athletes have filed a number of authorized challenges within the wake of these bans, which have included the worldwide soccer group FIFA removing Russia’s men’s nationwide staff from qualifying within the World Cup.
Wimbledon is scheduled to start in late June. A spokesperson for the occasion didn’t instantly reply to HuffPost’s request for remark.