Wimbledon bans Russian, Belarusian players

Russian and Belarusian players will not be allowed to compete at Wimbledon this year because of the invasion of Ukraine.

Men’s world number two Daniil Medvedev of Russia and women’s world number four ArynaSabalenka of Belarus are the highest-ranked players to be affected.

• Daniil Medvedev

Players from both countries have been allowed to compete on the tennis tour but not under their national flags.

Wimbledon takes place from 27 June to 10 July.It is understood the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) will confirm the move later on Wednesday.

Sabalenka reached the semi-finals of last year’s tournament, while Medvedev, who has been announced as one of the star draws at the grass-court warm-up event at Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands yesterday, reached the fourth round.

Russian world number 15 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova– who called for the war to stop earlier this year and 18th-ranked Victoria Azarenka of Belarus will also miss out.

Russia’s AndreyRublev is eighth in the men’s standings, with compatriot Karen Khachanov 26th.

They will all still be able to compete at the French Open, which begins in May.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskovcriticised the ban.

“Given that Russia is a strong tennis country and our athletes possess top lines of the world rating, the tournament itself would suffer because of this ban,” he said.

“It is unacceptable to make the athletes once again hostages of certain political prejudice, intrigues and hostile actions towards our country.” -BBC

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