Tennis players from Russia and Belarus will be banned to compete at Wimbledon

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Wimbledon, the world’s oldest Grand Slam tennis tournament, will ban players from Russia and Belarus from competing in response to the invasion of Ukraine. “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,” the organizers said in a statement. “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,” they added. This decision is the first time Russian and Belarusian players have been prohibited from competing in an elite tennis event. On Wednesday, Ukrainian tennis players Marta Kostyuk, Elina Monfils and Lesia Tsurenko called for a total ban of Russian and Belarusian players who fail to denounce Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Every other tennis tournament strenuously has avoided taking this step , opposed to the WTA opinion. “The WTA feels strongly that individual athletes should not be penalized due to the decisions made by the leadership of their country,” WTA CEO Steve Simon previously said.

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This ban will impact dozens of players, some embedded in the ATP’s top 10. It’s unclear whether this policy will hold up legally. Wimbledon is run by the All England Lawn Tennis Club. Private clubs in the U.K. have great discretion to set their own policies. “Making athletes victims of some kind of political prejudices, intrigues, hostile actions towards our country, is unacceptable. One can only express regret here,” Russian Government spokesman Dmitry Peskov told to reporters.Wimbledon, the third grand slam of the year, is set to begin on June 27.