Ukraine War Update: The United Kingdom’s Wimbledon tennis competition has reportedly blocked all Russian tennis players from playing in the prestigious third Grand Slam of the season. Sportico revealed the news on Tuesday night, describing Wimbledon made the decision in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
On Wednesday, Wimbledon organizers, the All England Club, confirmed the news in a statement, explaining that they intend to “limit Russia’s global influence through the strongest means possible.” The club also revealed that Belarusian players would also be banned from taking part in the tournament.
“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,” the statement said.
Does the Rule Make Sense?
The new rule will affect a fairly large number of players. Among the men’s and women’s singles draw, open finalist Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev, Karen Khackanov, Aslan Karatsev, and Ilya Ivashka will no longer be able to compete.
On the women’s side, five of the top 40 will be disqualified. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Veronika Kudermetova, and Daria Kasatkina, all Russian, will no longer be able to take part, and Belarussian players Victoria Azarenka and Aryna Sabalenka will also be blocked from competing.
The decision angered many fins, with New York Magazine publishing a piece by Benjamin Hart that accused Wimbledon of “pinning the blame” of the Ukraine invasion on open finalist Medvedev. Hart also suggested that the rule didn’t make sense as several Russian players have already called for the war to end.
Sports Illustrated published an opinion piece from Jon Wertheim, describing the decision as “indefensible.”
Russians Also Banned from 2022 Boston Marathon
Tennis isn’t the only sport to implement a ban on Russian participants. In early April, the Boston Athletic Associated announced that all Russian and Belarusian runners resident in either of the two countries would be blocked from competing in the 2022 Boston Marathon.
Only Belarusian and Russian citizens no longer resident in their home countries were allowed to compete in the marathon, but the decision attracted similar criticism as the Wimbledon decision.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.