The All England Club was disappointed by the penalties dished out by the ATP, WTA and ITF ahead of Wimbledon. 

The season's third major will not have any ranking points after tennis' governing bodies decided to punish the grand slam's organisers for banning Russian and Belarusian athletes.  

That decision from the All England Club was made in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. 

However, Wimbledon's organisers have now hit out at the three governing bodies. 

A statement began: "Given the position taken by the UK government to limit Russia's global influence, which removed automatic entry by ranking, and the widespread response of government, industry, sport and creative institutions, we remain of the view that we have made the only viable decision for Wimbledon as a globally renowned sporting event and British institution, and we stand by the decision we have made. 

"We were not prepared to take any actions that could risk the personal safety of players or their families. We believe that requiring written declarations from individual players – and that would apply to all relevant players – as a condition of entry in the high-profile circumstances of Wimbledon would carry significant scrutiny and risk. 

"In addition, we remain unwilling to accept success or participation at Wimbledon being used to benefit the propaganda machine of the Russian regime, which, through its closely controlled State media, has an acknowledged history of using sporting success to support a triumphant narrative to the Russian people. 

"We therefore wish to state our deep disappointment at the decisions taken by the ATP, WTA and ITF in removing ranking points for the championships. We believe these decisions to be disproportionate in the context of the exceptional and extreme circumstances of this situation and the position we found ourselves in, and damaging to all players who compete on Tour." 

The statement added that the All England Club was "considering [its] options" while also communicating with organisers of the other grand slams. 

The WTA has joined the ATP in electing to strip Wimbledon of ranking points for 2022. 

That decision comes in the wake of the All England Club's call to prevent Russian and Belarusian players from competing at the grand slam. 

The All England Club chose to ban athletes from those nations in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine earlier this year, which was facilitated by neighbouring Belarus. 

While the WTA insisted it holds solidarity with the people of Ukraine and reiterated its condemnation of Russia's attack, chief executive Steve Simon said: "Nearly 50 years ago, the WTA was founded on the fundamental principle that all players have an equal opportunity to compete based on merit and without discrimination.  

"The WTA believes that individual athletes participating in an individual sport should not be penalised or prevented from competing solely because of their nationalities or the decisions made by the governments of their countries. 

"The recent decisions made by the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) and the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) to ban athletes from competing in the upcoming UK grass-court events violate that fundamental principle, which is clearly embodied in the WTA rules, the grand slam rules and the agreement the WTA has with the grand slams. 

"As a result of the AELTC's position that it will not honour its obligation to use the WTA rankings for entry into Wimbledon and proceed with a partial field not based on merit, the WTA has made the difficult decision to not award WTA ranking points for this year's Wimbledon championships." 

While no ranking points will be awarded at Wimbledon, the WTA events due to be held in Birmingham, Nottingham and Eastbourne will retain theirs. However, the WTA tournament sanctions will be placed on probation. 

Simon concluded: "The stance we are taking is about protecting the equal opportunities that WTA players should have to compete as individuals.  

"If we do not take this stance, then we abandon our fundamental principle and allow the WTA to become an example to support discrimination based on nationality at other events and in other regions around the world. The WTA will continue to apply its rules to reject such discrimination." 

No ranking points will be awarded at Wimbledon this year due to the ban on Russian and Belarusian players, the ATP confirmed on Friday. 

The All England Club announced the blanket ban last April following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. In its statement, it said the championships had a responsibility to help "limit Russia's global influence through the strongest means possible". 

Russian and Belarusian players have been allowed to continue playing under a neutral flag, with the Tour saying Wimbledon's decision not to accept their entries was "unfair" and had "the potential to set a damaging precedent for the game". 

The governing body for men's tennis has now decided that no ranking points will be on offer at SW19 unless the All England Club lifts the ban. There was no concurrent announcement from the WTA.

A statement from the Tour read: "The ability for players of any nationality to enter tournaments based on merit, and without discrimination, is fundamental to our Tour. 

"The decision by Wimbledon to ban Russian and Belarusian players from competing in the UK this summer undermines this principle and the integrity of the ATP ranking system. It is also inconsistent with our rankings agreement. 

"Absent a change in circumstances, it is with great regret and reluctance that we see no option but to remove ATP ranking points from Wimbledon for 2022. 

"Our rules and agreements exist in order to protect the rights of players as a whole. Unilateral decisions of this nature, if unaddressed, set a damaging precedent for the rest of the Tour. Discrimination by individual tournaments is simply not viable on a Tour that operates in more than 30 countries. 

"We greatly value our long-standing relationships with Wimbledon and the LTA [Lawn Tennis Association] and do not underestimate the difficult decisions faced in responding to recent UK government guidance. 

"However, we note that this was informal guidance, not a mandate, which offered an alternative option that would have left the decision in the hands of individual players competing as neutral athletes through a signed declaration. Our internal discussions with affected players in fact led us to conclude this would have been a more agreeable option for the Tour. 

"We remain hopeful of further discussions with Wimbledon leading to an acceptable outcome for all concerned. More broadly, we believe this matter again highlights the need for a united governance structure across professional tennis so that decisions of this nature can be made in a joint manner." 

The statement added: "Our condemnation of Russia's devastating invasion of Ukraine remains unequivocal. Immediate action was taken to suspend the ATP Tour event in Moscow and have Russian and Belarusian athletes compete under neutral flags on Tour. 

"In parallel, we have continued our humanitarian support for Ukraine, together with the other governing bodies of tennis, as well as providing direct financial assistance to many affected players." 

Daniil Medvedev remains dismayed by the prospect of missing Wimbledon but has ruled out taking the All England Club to court in a bid to overturn the ban on Russian players.

The US Open champion is in Paris for the French Open, which is allowing players from Russia and Belarus to compete.

Stars from those countries have been denied entry to Wimbledon next month, however, due to the Russian-led invasion of Ukraine.

They will not be allowed to play any events in England, the Lawn Tennis Association said, but Medvedev is determined to play a grass-court season and has signed up for tournaments in Netherlands and Germany already, while considering another in Spain.

The 26-year-old from Moscow has expressed hope that there could yet be a way for him into the Wimbledon draw, and stuck by that position on Friday.

"I'm not in the ATP taking the decisions, I'm not in Wimbledon taking the decisions. Maybe it's government pushing them, maybe it's their decision. There a lot of mistakes behind this," Medvedev told a news conference at Roland Garros.

"So if I can play I'm going to be happy to play. I love Wimbledon as a tournament. I honestly tend to think I like playing on grass, though I didn't have amazing results so far, but I managed to win one tournament. But if I cannot play, I'm going to try to play next year's and try to play good there."

Asked whether he would consider recourse to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, Medvedev said: "Personally, I didn't think about this."

He suspects there might be a case to be made, but added: "I'm not going to go to court for this one."

Court action might not be considered a good look, given the circumstances, so Medvedev looks like having to settle for playing the satellite ATP Tour events around the grass-court showpiece.

"Usually I like playing grass. I want to make some good results," he said. "Halle is a really strong tournament and if you manage to win it, it's a great result and gives you a lot of confidence no matter for the next tournaments if it's grand slams or not, or if it's Masters 1000.

"So I'm planning to play three grass-court events, which is 's-Hertogenbosch, Halle, and I'm thinking to go to Mallorca."

Medvedev, who has spent time sidelined by hernia trouble recently, will face Facundo Bagnis in the first round in Paris.

Daniil Medvedev remains hopeful he can feature at Wimbledon despite Russian and Belarusian players being banned from the tournament due to the conflict in Ukraine.

The All England Club, along with the Lawn Tennis Association, confirmed in April that Russian and Belarusian players would not be permitted to play this year, due to Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

That means unless the ATP and WTA can convince tournament organisers to rethink, men's world number two and reigning US Open champion Medvedev will not compete at Wimbledon.

The decision has split opinion in tennis, with the likes of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andrey Rublev questioning the ruling, while Andy Murray expressed his backing.

However, Medvedev has not given up hope that Wimbledon may opt for a late change of heart and allow him to play.

"I don't know if this decision is 100 per cent and it's over [for me]," the Russian said.

"If I can play, I'm going to be happy to play in Wimbledon. I love this tournament. If I cannot play – well, I'm going to try to play other tournaments and prepare well for next year if I have the chance to play."

Questions remain as to a potential backlash should Wimbledon exclude the two countries' players from appearing, with reports suggesting the ATP and WTA may remove ranking points from the tournament.

"I tried to follow what's happening because I don't have any decisions to make. It's right now about Wimbledon itself, the ATP, maybe the British government is involved," Medvedev added.

"It's a tricky situation and like every situation in life, you ask 100 players, everybody's going to give a different opinion.

"[When] you show a tennis ball to 100 people, I'm sure some of them are going to say it's green and not yellow. I think it's yellow. [But] if somebody tells me it's green, I'm not going to get in conflict with this person."

Medvedev returns to action this week at the Geneva Open, where he faces Richard Gasquet or Australian John Millman in his opening match after recovering from a hernia injury that kept him out for six weeks.

Ukrainian former tennis player Sergiy Stakhovsky has questioned Rafael Nadal after the world number four said Russian and Belarusian players should not be banned from playing at Wimbledon.

The All England Club, along with the Lawn Tennis Association, confirmed last month that Russian and Belarusian players would not be able to feature in their tournaments this year, including Wimbledon.

That decision came in the wake of Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine, which was backed by Belarus.

It means that men's world number two and reigning US Open champion Daniil Medvedev, as it stands, will not be competing at the season's third grand slam.

The ATP and WTA both want a rethink of the decision, while Nadal – along with Novak Djokovic – spoke out against the ban. Andy Murray, meanwhile, said he does not support the move, though understands the major's organisers are in a difficult position. 

 

"I think it's very unfair on my Russian tennis mates, my colleagues," Nadal told reporters.

"It's not their fault what's happening in this moment with the war. I'm sorry for them. Wimbledon just took their decision. The government didn't force them to do it.

"Let's see what happens in the next weeks, if the players will take some kind of decision in that regard."

However, former world number 31 Stakhovsky, who returned to his homeland to aid the resistance to Russia's attack, vehemently disagrees.

On his official Twitter account, Stakhovsy wrote: "@RafaelNadal we competed together... we've played each other on tour.

"Please tell me how it is fair that Ukrainian players cannot return home?

"How it is fair that Ukrainian kids cannot play tennis? How is it fair that Ukrainians are dying?"

Stakohvsky told Stats Perform in March that he was driven to fight the Russian forces despite having no formal military training, and left his family to do so.

Andy Murray does not support the ban on Russian and Belarusian players competing at this year's Wimbledon or other Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) tournaments, while Novak Djokovic reiterated his stance.

The All England Lawn Tennis Club recently announced that players from the two nations are prohibited from competing in the British grand slam following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

It means the likes of men's world number two Daniil Medvedev and women's world number four Aryna Sabalenka would miss out on the British swing.

Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have both spoken out against the ban, while the ATP and WTA have also pressed for reconsideration.

Now Murray, a two-time Wimbledon champion who also won Olympic gold at SW19 in 2012, has refused to give the ban his backing.

"I'm not supportive of players getting banned," Murray said in a news conference ahead of the Madrid Open, with the former world number one in action against Dominic Thiem on Monday.

"My understanding of the guidance was that Russians and Belarusians can play if they sign a declaration that they're against the war and against the Russian regime.

"I'm not sure how comfortable I would feel if something happened to one of the players or their families."

 

Murray understands it is a delicate situation, however. 

"I don't think there's a right answer. I have spoken to some of the Russian players. I've spoken to some of the Ukrainian players," he continued.

"I feel really bad for the players who aren't allowed to play and I get that it will seem unfair to them. But I also know some of the people who work at Wimbledon, and I know how difficult a position they were in.

"I feel for everyone, feel for the players that can't play, and I don't support one side or the other."

There has been speculation that the ATP and WTA may sanction Wimbledon, with one possibility being reducing the amount of tour points on offer from the grand slam.

World number one Djokovic, who will be allowed to compete at Wimbledon, where no requirement for a COVID-19 vaccination will be in place for players, is unsure what the next step will be.

He told reporters: "I've spoken to some of the Russian players in Belgrade [at the Serbia Open].

"Obviously, it's not an easy situation to be in. Being stripped of the right to participate in one of the biggest tournaments, if not the biggest tournament in the world, it's hard, I understand that. There is frustration.

"[The] ATP is going to analyse the whole situation and understand what can be done. I have not spoken to people from ATP so I'm not sure about it. I've gone through something similar, it's not the same thing, but something similar earlier this year for myself [when he was denied entry to Australia due to his COVID-19 vaccination status].

"It's frustrating knowing that you're not able to play. I still stand by my position that I don't support the decision. I think it's just not fair. It's not right. But it is what it is, they are entitled to make the decision.

"I guess it's on Player Council, the tour management, to really decide, along with the players, what is the best solution in this situation whether they keep the points, protect the points, take away 50 per cent of the points.

"So I heard that some of those models are still considered to be used in this kind of instance, but I'm not sure what is right, what is wrong, to be honest. I guess we'll have to wait and see the outcome."

Rafael Nadal has described Wimbledon's decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players from competing at this year's tournament as "very unfair".

The All England Lawn Tennis Club recently announced that players from the two nations are prohibited from competing in the event following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

World number one Novak Djokovic labelled the decision "crazy", while Billie Jean King and governing bodies the ATP and WTA have also called for a rethink.

Nadal has now joined the ranks of those people questioning the decision, with the 35-year-old saying it is not fair on the players from those countries. 

"I think it's very unfair on my Russian tennis mates, my colleagues," Nadal told reporters.

"It's not their fault what's happening in this moment with the war. I'm sorry for them. Wimbledon just took their decision. The government didn't force them to do it.

"Let's see what happens in the next weeks, if the players will take some kind of decision in that regard."

Nadal will return to action following a rib injury at the Madrid Open in his homeland and the 21-time grand slam winner accepted that it might not be without difficulties. 

"Talking about the injury, I'm recovered, I feel good," Nadal added.

"Talking about my tennis game and preparations, well, it's a completely different story.

"Anyone who has broken a rib knows how limiting it is, very painful, especially the first weeks. I wasn't able to do anything without a lot of difficulties, even to fall asleep because of the pain.

"I have improved compared to when I came here but I still have ups and downs because it's been a long time without being in these kind of situations and it's going to be a difficult week, for sure."

Novak Djokovic will be able to defend his Wimbledon title this year as players will not need to be vaccinated against coronavirus to feature in the tournament.

World number one Djokovic was unable to compete in the 2022 Australian Open after he was deported from the country in January.

The Australian government cancelled the Serbian's visa on "health and good order" grounds and he failed with an attempt to overturn that decision in court.

Djokovic will be able to play in the grass-court grand slam at the All England Club, though, due to a lack of COVID-19 restrictions in the United Kingdom.

All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) chief executive Sally Bolton said during a media briefing on Tuesday: "As you will be aware, the requirements set up by the government to enter the UK do not include mandatory vaccinations.

"Therefore, whilst of course it is encouraged, it will not be a condition of entry in order to compete in the Championships this year."

Djokovic can also play in the French Open following the easing of restrictions.

There will be no Russian or Belarusian players when Wimbledon is staged from June 27 to July 10 at SW19 due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

All England Club chairman Ian Hewitt says the decision to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes from Wimbledon was the "most responsible decision possible in the circumstances."

Organisers of the grass-court grand slam confirmed this month that players from both nations would be barred from featuring in the tournament due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The decision was met by a significant backlash, with world number eight Andrey Rublev describing the decision as "discrimination" and Novak Djokovic stating he could not support it.

But speaking at the 2022 Wimbledon media briefing, Hewitt sought to clarify the process by which the decision was made.

"After lengthy and careful consideration we came to two firm conclusions that have formed the basis for our decision," he told reporters.

"First, even if we were to accept entries from Russia and Belarusian players with written declarations we would risk their success or participation at Wimbledon being used to benefit the propaganda machine of the Russian regime which we could not accept.

"Second, we have a duty to ensure that no actions we take should put the safety of players or their families at risk."

All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) chief executive Sally Bolton shed further light on the process of making such an "an immensely difficult decision." 

"We recognise that whatever decision we took would be setting a precedent," she added.

"We made our judgement in the scale of the response to an international war, the consequences of which reach far wider than the sport of tennis.

"We appreciate that this is an immensely difficult decision, and that people have different views which we respect and understand.

"We are deeply regretful of the impact that this will have on every single player who is affected.

"We are in ongoing dialogue with the players, with the tours, with the ITF and with our fellow grand slams, and will continue to work with them over the coming weeks.

"We believe that this decision is the only viable option for Wimbledon."

Wimbledon also confirmed that players who have not received a coronavirus vaccination will be allowed to enter the tournament. 

Djokovic hit the headlines when he was unable to play in the Australian Open this year after being deported due to his vaccination status.

Andrey Rublev says Wimbledon's ban on Russian and Belarusian players is "complete discrimination" and does not make sense.

The All England Lawn Tennis Club this week announced that players from the two nations are prohibited from competing in the event following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Rublev is one of three top-10 players, alongside compatriot Daniil Medvedev and Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus, who has been blocked from playing at SW19 in June. 

World number one Novak Djokovic labelled the decision "crazy", while Billie Jean King and governing bodies ATP and WTA have also called for a rethink.

Rublev, whose best finish at Wimbledon came last year when reaching round four, believes there is a more logical solution.

"What is happening now is complete discrimination against us," he told reporters after beating Jiri Lehecka on Thursday to progress to the Serbia Open quarter-finals.

"The reasons they gave us had no sense, they were not logical. Banning Russian or Belarusian players... will not change anything.

"To give all the prize money would have a more positive effect to humanitarian help, to the families who are suffering, to the kids who are suffering.

"I think that would do something. Tennis will, in that case, be the first and only sport who donates that amount of money and it will be Wimbledon so they will take all the glory."

The Belarusian Tennis Federation released a statement on Thursday stating it is seeking legal advice regarding the decision to ban their players from Wimbledon.

"Such destructive actions in no way contribute to the resolution of conflicts but only incite hatred and intolerance on a national basis," the governing body said.

Billie Jean King has spoken out against the ban on Russian and Belarusian players imposed at Wimbledon this year as a result of the war in Ukraine. 

The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) announced on Wednesday that players from the two nations would not be eligible for the grand slam, with the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) stating it would implement the same rule across all its upcoming tournaments. 

Upon announcing its decision, the AELTC cited a responsibility "to limit Russia's global influence through the strongest means possible". 

The blanket ban rules the likes of Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev, Aryna Sabalenka and Victoria Azarenka out of contention, and that is something King is against. 

She posted on Twitter: "The decision of the LTA and AELTC regarding Russian and Belarusian players at this year's tournament was a difficult and complex undertaking, and I appreciate the challenges and pressures they are facing. 

"One of the guiding principles of the founding of the WTA was that any girl in the world, if she was good enough, would have a place to compete. 

"I stood by that in 1973 and I stand by that today. I cannot support the banning of individual athletes from any tournament, simply because of their nationality. 

"Tennis is stronger when we stand together, and our continue support of the Tennis Plays for Peace initiative, which provides meaningful financial support and resources to Ukraine, needs to be our focus." 

The ATP and WTA criticised the AELTC's decision, while Martina Navratilova and Novak Djokovic have also voiced their opposition. 

In a statement published on Thursday, the Belarusian Tennis Federation (BTF) said it was seeking legal advice. 

"The Belarusian Tennis Federation categorically condemns the decision taken by the organisers of Wimbledon to suspend Belarusian and Russian tennis players. Such destructive actions in no way contribute to the resolution of conflicts, but only incite hatred and intolerance on a national basis," read the release. 

"Throughout the history of tennis, armed conflicts have occurred in the world – in Iran, Afghanistan, Syria, Yugoslavia and other countries – but not until now have tournament organisers suspended athletes from the United States, Great Britain and other countries. 

"Illegal decisions of international tennis organizations in relation to our athletes undermines the reputation of these organisations. 

"Consultations of the BTF leadership with international law firms on sports law are ongoing and a strategy is being developed that is aimed at protecting Belarusian tennis players around the world." 

Novak Djokovic "cannot support" Wimbledon's decision to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes from competition this year.

The All-England Club moved to suspend players from the two nations from entering this year's grand slam event, amid the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The decision is the latest major sporting sanction against the two nations, with Russia barred from World Cup qualification for Qatar 2022 and the Formula One Russian Grand Prix cancelled.

It has been met with considerable pushback, however, with the ATP blasting the decision as "unfair".

Now Djokovic has come out against it too, arguing it is not the fault of the players, who are being punished for actions beyond their control.

"I will always be the first one to condemn the war," said Djokovic, who is currently in action on home soil in the Serbia Open. "As a child of war, I know what kind of emotional trauma a war leaves.

"Us in Serbia, we know what was happening here in 1999. Ordinary people always suffer – we've had lots of wars in the Balkans.

"That being said, I cannot support the Wimbledon decision. It's not the athletes' fault. When politics interfere with sport, it usually doesn't turn out well."

Eighteen-time grand slam winner Martina Navratilova also pushed back against the move in an interview on LBC Radio.

"The Russian and Belarusian players, some have even expressed, vocalised, their opposition to the war," she added.

"The only option therefore now for them to play would be to leave their country.

"That’s something that I had to do in 1975, because of a totalitarian regime and now we are asking them to do the same, because of politics, because of optics.

"I understand the banning of teams, of course, representing the countries, but on an individual level, I just think it's wrong."

The decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players from Wimbledon is "unfair" and sets a "damaging precedent for the game", the ATP has warned.

An announcement on the grand slam's official website on Wednesday stated that Russian and Belarusian competitors would be barred from the championships, as well as from any other events organised by the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) this year.

"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," the statement read.

ATP world number two Daniil Medvedev and WTA world number four Aryna Sabalenka headline the list of players who will miss out on the year's third grand slam as a result of the announcement.

The ATP has now hit out at the ban, labelling it "unfair" and discriminatory, while continuing to pledge solidarity with the people of Ukraine.

"We strongly condemn Russia's reprehensible invasion of Ukraine and stand in solidarity with the millions of innocent people affected by the ongoing war," began a press release from the ATP.

"Our sport is proud to operate on the fundamental principles of merit and fairness, where players compete as individuals to earn their place in tournaments based on the ATP Rankings. 

"We believe that today's unilateral decision by Wimbledon and the LTA to exclude players from Russia and Belarus from this year's British grass-court swing is unfair and has the potential to set a damaging precedent for the game. 

"Discrimination based on nationality also constitutes a violation of our agreement with Wimbledon that states that player entry is based solely on ATP Rankings. Any course of action in response to this decision will now be assessed in consultation with our Board and Member councils.

"It is important to stress that players from Russia and Belarus will continue to be allowed to compete at ATP events under a neutral flag, a position that has until now been shared across professional tennis. 

"In parallel, we will continue our joint humanitarian support for Ukraine under Tennis Plays for Peace."

The unilateral announcement from Wimbledon's organisers comes after Russian and Belarusian players were originally allowed to play under neutral flags amidst Russia's invasion of Ukraine, courtesy of a joint ruling from the four grand slams and the ATP and WTA Tours.

Elina Svitolina has called for Russian and Belarusian players to be banned from all international tennis events unless they denounce the invasion in Ukraine.

The All England Club on Wednesday announced that players from Russia and Belarus will not be allowed to compete at Wimbledon due to the conflict in Ukraine.

Daniil Medvedev, Aryna Sabalenka, Victoria Azarenka and Andrey Rublev are among the household names that will not be allowed to compete in the grass-court grand slam, "unless circumstances change materially between now and June".

Russian and Belarusian players will also be prevented from entering all other events organised by the Lawn Tennis Association.

Two-time major semi-finalist and former world number three Svitolina believes a global ban should be imposed on players from Russia and Belarus if they do not speak out.

The Ukrainian former world number three posted on Twitter and Instagram: "Dear Tennis Community.

"Ginetta Sagan once said: 'Silence in the face of injustice is complicity with the oppressor.' This could not be any more true right now.

"On 24th February 2022, Russia, with the support of Belarus, attacked Ukraine. Now there is a war in our country, in our home. All Ukrainians are forced to leave their homes and fight for their lives. For over 50 days now, the Russian forces have been bombing our cities and killing civilians, as well as using the territory of Belarus to bomb Ukraine from the west and the north.

"Millions of people have been left homeless, millions of children now know what explosions, fear and death look like. It is all happening right now in the centre of Europe.

"As athletes we live a life in the public eye and therefore have an enormous responsibility. Some of our posts and opinions on social media reach an audience larger than those of regional television stations. In times of crisis, silence means agreeing with what is happening.

"We noticed that some Russian and Belarusian players at some point vaguely mentioned the war, but never clearly stating that Russia and Belarus started it on the territory of Ukraine. The very silence of those who choose to remain that way right now is unbearable as it leads to the continuation of murder in our homeland.

"We demand that the WTA, ATP and ITF make sure the players who represent Russia and Belarus answer the following questions:

"1. Do you support Russia's and Belarus invasion in Ukraine's territory and as a result of that the war started by those countries?

"2. Do you support Russia's and Belarus military activities in Ukraine?

"3. Do you support [Russian president Vladimir] Putin's and [Belarus president Alexander] Lukashenko's regime?

"If applicable, we demand to exclude and ban Russian and Belarusian athletes from competing in any international event, as Wimbledon already [has] done. There come a time when silence is betrayal, and that time is now."

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