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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Wimbledon to lift ban on Russian and Belarusian players


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London: Russian and Belarusian players will be allowed to play at the Wimbledon Championships this summer as “neutral” athletes, the All England Club announced.

“Our current intention is to accept entries from Russian and Belarusian players subject to them competing as ‘neutral’ athletes and complying with appropriate conditions,” read the statement released on Friday.

But players receiving funding from the Russian or Belarusian states or having sponsorship from companies operated or controlled by the states won’t be allowed to participate in the competition.

“It is our view that considering all factors, these are the most appropriate arrangements for The Championships for this year,” commented Ian Hewitt, Chairman of the All England Club.

“If circumstances change materially between now and the commencement of The Championships, we will consider and respond accordingly.”

As one of the four Grand Slam tournaments of tennis, the Wimbledon Championships declined entries from Russian and Belarusian players to the 2022 tournament. Consequently, both ATP and WTA stripped ranking points for last year’s Wimbledon Championships.

“There was a strong and very disappointing reaction from some governing bodies in tennis to the position taken by the All England Club and the LTA last year with consequences which, if continued, would be damaging to the interests of players, fans, The Championships and British tennis,” said the statement.

“Tennis events outside of the UK have experienced a year of competition with players from Russia and Belarus competing as ‘neutral’ athletes. We also consider the alignment between the Grand Slams to be increasingly important in the current tennis environment.”

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