Wimbledon bans Russian and Belarusian players from competing

By Sports Desk April 20, 2022

Daniil Medvedev headlines the list of Russian and Belarusian players who will be banned from competing at Wimbledon this year.

In the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which was facilitated by Belarus, the four grand slams and the ATP and WTA Tours initially confirmed Russian and Belarusian players would be able to continue playing, albeit under neutral flags.

However, the All England Club has now decided athletes from the two nations will be unable to feature at the season's third grand slam.

That means reigning US Open champion Medvedev, ranked second in the world by the ATP behind Novak Djokovic, will not be involved.

With Medvedev a doubt for the French Open having undergone hernia surgery, he could miss two of this year's majors. He has never had much success at Wimbledon, with his best run ending in the fourth round in 2021.

WTA world number four Aryna Sabalenka, who hails from Belarus, is another big name to miss out, along with Russian ATP world number eight Andrey Rublev, who has won two titles so far in 2022.

Russian women's number one Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, compatriot and 2018 Wimbledon quarter-finalist Daria Kasatkina and Belarusian two-time All England Club semi-finalist Victoria Azarenka will all also be absent.

"We share in the universal condemnation of Russia's illegal actions and have carefully considered the situation in the context of our duties to the players, to our community and to the broader UK public as a British sporting institution," a statement on the official Wimbledon website read.

"We have also taken into account guidance set out by the UK Government specifically in relation to sporting bodies and events.

"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."

Chairman of the All England Club, Ian Hewitt, said: "We recognise that this is hard on the individuals affected, and it is with sadness that they will suffer for the actions of the leaders of the Russian regime.

"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."

Wimbledon's statement confirmed that the ban would be "reconsidered" should circumstances change by June.

The move comes a month after UK sports minister Nigel Huddleston warned Medvedev and other Russian athletes they might be banned from Wimbledon unless they denounced president Vladimir Putin.

Medvedev and Rublev both called for peace in the immediate aftermath of Russia's attack on Ukraine.

Related items

  • Wimbledon: Kyrgios hits out at 'soft' Tsitsipas after being labelled a 'bully' following controversial win Wimbledon: Kyrgios hits out at 'soft' Tsitsipas after being labelled a 'bully' following controversial win

    Nick Kyrgios labelled Stefanos Tsitsipas "soft" and defended his on-court antics after the Greek called him a "bully" in the aftermath of their ill-tempered Wimbledon clash.

    Kyrgios recovered from one set down to post an impressive 6-7 (2-7) 6-4 6-3 7-6 (9-7) win over the fourth seed, setting up a last-16 tie with Brandon Nakashima with a scintillating performance on No. 1 Court.

    But the contest was not without controversy, with Kyrgios frustrating Tsitsipas by calling for him to be defaulted after the Greek narrowly missed a spectator when firing a ball into the crowd at the end of the second set.

    The Australian then labelled the umpire a "disgrace" during an extraordinary outburst, and his antics seemed to get under the skin of Tsitsipas, who was deducted a point for sending another ball towards the spectators before appearing to hit a couple of shots directly at Kyrgios.

    While Kyrgios praised his opponent – with whom he played doubles at Wimbledon three years ago, as "a hell of a player" in his post-match interview, neither player was in the mood for niceties in their respective news conferences.

    First up was Tsitsipas, who accused Kyrgios of "constant bullying".

    "That's what he does," the world number five said of his rival. "He bullies the opponents. He was probably a bully at school himself.

    "I don't like bullies. I don't like people that put other people down.

    "He has some good traits in his character, as well. But he also has a very evil side to him, which, if it's exposed, it can really do a lot of harm and bad to the people around him."

    Kyrgios, who has now claimed four wins in five career meetings with Tsitsipas, responded to that criticism shortly thereafter, alleging the Greek was not popular in the locker room and saying his inability to handle such matches would hold him back.

    "He's that soft, to come in here and say I bullied him? That's just soft," Kyrgios said. 

    "We're not cut from the same cloth. If he's affected by that today, then that’s what's holding him back, because someone can just do that and that's going to throw him off his game like that. I just think it's soft.

    "I don't know what to say. I'm not sure how I bullied him.

    "He was the one hitting balls at me, he was the one that hit a spectator, he was the one that smacked it out of the stadium.

    "I didn't do anything. I was actually like… apart from me just going back and forth to the umpire for a bit, I did nothing towards Stefanos today that was disrespectful, I don't think. I was not drilling him with balls.

    "I feel great, the circus was all him today. I think if he's making that match about me, he's got some serious issues, I'm good in the locker room, I've got many friends, I'm actually one of the most liked [players]. I'm set.

    "He's not liked, let's just put that there. I'm good, I feel good."

    Kyrgios is just one win away from matching his best run at Wimbledon, having reached the quarter-finals in 2014 with a win over Rafael Nadal before being beaten by Milos Raonic.

  • Wimbledon: 'I had my own tactics out there' – Kyrgios overcomes frustrated Tsitsipas in controversial third-round clash Wimbledon: 'I had my own tactics out there' – Kyrgios overcomes frustrated Tsitsipas in controversial third-round clash

    Nick Kyrgios acknowledged having his "own tactics" after overcoming Stefanos Tsitsipas in a dramatic, ill-tempered affair to reach Wimbledon's last 16.

    Kyrgios produced an outstanding display to rally after losing the first set on No. 1 Court, eventually prevailing 6-7 (2-7) 6-4 6-3 7-6 (9-7) in an incident-filled match.

    The enigmatic star set the tone with an incredible outburst after a frustrated Tsitsipas struck a ball into the crowd at the end of the second set, narrowly missing a spectator.

    The Australian immediately called for his opponent to be defaulted, recalling Novak Djokovic's contentious exit from the 2020 US Open after he had accidentally hit a line judge in frustration after dropping a game.

    Kyrgios could be heard calling the umpire a "disgrace", and then, after Tsitsipas had been let off with a warning, the unseeded talent asked: "Are you dumb?"

    He then hit out at the umpire, yelling: "What are you talking about? Novak hit someone, it is the same, it happened right there. 

    "Bring out more supervisors, I'm not done. You can bring them all out, I don't care. I'm not playing until we get to the bottom of it. 

    "What happened to Novak when he hit the ball into a girl? She was injured. You can't hit a ball into the crowd and hit someone and not get defaulted."

    But the drama was far from done as Tsitsipas flew into a rage of his own early in the third, having been hit with a point deduction for wildly firing another ball towards the crowd – but hitting the scoreboard instead – after Kyrgios produced a mischievous underarm serve when holding to love.

    The fourth seed's frustration was evident as he then appeared to hit a couple of shots right at Kyrgios to boos from spectators, who vociferously cheered every point for the Australian.

    But after producing some outstanding tennis to end the aggravated Tsitsipas' hopes of winning a first grand slam title, Kyrgios said he had no problems with the Greek, whom he played doubles with at Wimbledon in 2019.

    "Honestly, it was a hell of an atmosphere, an amazing match, I honestly felt like the favourite coming in; I played him a couple of weeks ago, but I knew it was going to be a tough match," he said.

    "He's a hell of a player, I had my own tactics out there – he knows how to play me, he's beaten me once, and obviously I've had success, so it was a hell of a match.

    "I'm just super happy to be through, he was getting frustrated at times and it's a frustrating sport, that's for sure. I know you all think you can play, but it's very frustrating, whatever happens on the court, I love him."

    Kyrgios now holds a 4-1 head-to-head lead over Tsitsipas, having also got the better of the world number five on the grass at the Halle Open earlier this month.

    The 27-year-old also previously courted controversy during his run to the fourth round when he spat in the direction of a "disrespectful" fan during his first-round win over Paul Jubb.

    But Kyrgios claimed his antics serve to drive interest in the sport, adding: "It's amazing, everywhere I go I seem to have full stadiums.

    "The media loves to write that I'm bad for the sport, but clearly not."

  • Wimbledon: 'Not spicy at all' – Nadal 'very sorry' for confronting Sonego Wimbledon: 'Not spicy at all' – Nadal 'very sorry' for confronting Sonego

    Rafael Nadal was quick to apologise for appearing to upset opponent Lorenzo Sonego when he called him in for a word late in a dominant Wimbledon win.

    Nadal saw off Sonego in straight sets and was in complete control for much of the third-round match, only briefly losing his composure when the Centre Court roof was closed following a lengthy plea from the 27th seed.

    When the contest resumed, Nadal – who had not faced a break point until that stage – was broken to love in a game in which he took issue with a noise Sonego made as he approached the ball.

    Nadal appealed to the umpire for some form of discipline immediately after the point and then took the matter into his own hands following the game.

    The Spaniard called over a bemused Sonego and seemed to admonish him, leaving the Italian clearly frustrated and engaging in a prolonged discussion with the umpire.

    Nadal then broke back and quickly wrapped up a 6-1 6-2 6-4 victory, before the pair met again at the net.

    The 22-time major champion first attempted to explain his actions to Sonego, then to the umpire and finally to the Centre Court crowd.

    After a highly respectful first answer in his on-court interview – acknowledging his "best match" of the championships so far against "a great player", "the most difficult player I've faced" in this run – Nadal discussed the confrontation.

    It was suggested the encounter had been "spicy", but Nadal interrupted: "Sorry, not spicy at all. From the bottom of my heart, I didn't mean it in a negative way.

    "I feel very sorry if I bothered him – I just wanted to tell him something. I did it in a nice way, and I feel now really bad if I bothered him. I'm sorry for that.

    "That's it. I was talking to him, and now I'm going to talk to him, but this was not a problem, I don't think, at all."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.