Wimbledon: Novak Djokovic slams Russia decision

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic has expressed his dismay at Wimbledon’s decision to ban all Russian and Belarusian players for this summer’s championship.

Wimbledon confirmed that all players from Russia and Belarus had been banned from competing due to the ongoing Ukrainian conflict.

Djokovic is among many to speak out expressing that it is a “crazy” decision as the athletes have nothing to do with the conflict.

A statement released by the All England Club yesterday read:

“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.

“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.

Wimbledon bans Russia and Belarus stars
LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 02: General view in the grounds during Day two of The Championships – Wimbledon 2019 at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 02, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

“It is therefore our intention, with deep regret, to decline entries from Russian and Belarusian players to The Championships 2022.”

The Grand Slam is the first tennis tournament to officially ban individual competitors from either country, a decision that hasn’t gone down too well. It will mean that the World Number 2 Daniil Medvedev and women’s number 4 Aryna Sabalenka, of Belarus, will not be making an appearance in the tournament.

Following his win at the Serbia Open against fellow countryman Laslo Djere, Djokovic spoke to reporters about his opinion on the matter.

Novak Djokovic is no pleased with Wimbledon's decision
LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 11: Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates with the trophy as he is interviewed after winning his men’s Singles Final match against Matteo Berrettini of Italy on Day Thirteen of The Championships – Wimbledon 2021 at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 11, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

He said: “I will always condemn war; I will never support war being myself a child of war. I know how much emotional trauma it leaves.

“In Serbia we all know what happened in 1999. In the Balkans we have had many wars in recent history. However, I cannot support the decision of Wimbledon, I think it is crazy. When politics interferes with sport, the result is not good.”

Wimbledon have said that the decision would be reconsidered if circumstances “change materially” between now and June and welcomed the Lawn Tennis Association’s decision to also ban players from Russia and Belarus from its UK events this summer.

It seems likely that the ban will remain in place and so the June 27-July 10 tournament is expected to look a little different this year with some key names missing from the court.

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