Wimbledon organizers will not allow Russian and Belarusian players to appear at this year’s tournament because of the conflict in Ukraine, it has been confirmed.
The decision was formally announced by the All England Lawn Tennis Club in a statement on Wednesday after widespread reports that a ban was looming for players from the two countries.
“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,” read a message.
“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.
“It is therefore our intention, with deep regret, to decline entries from Russian and Belarusian players to The Championships 2022,” it added.
The chairman of the All England Club, Ian Hewitt, claimed the decision had been taken “with sadness.”
“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,” Hewitt said.
The announcement added that “if circumstances change materially between now and June, we will consider and respond accordingly.”
Elsewhere, the UK’s Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) also declared it was joining Wimbledon organizers in not welcoming Russian and Belarusian players to its tournaments, stating that the decision “means that British tennis is delivering a consistent approach across all events over the course of the summer.”