Wimbledon: Daniil Medvedev, Aryna Sabalenka among tennis stars to be banned

Daniil Medvedev, Aryna Sabalenka among tennis stars set to be banned from Wimbledon

Wimbledon organisers are reportedly on the verge of banning Russian and Belarusian stars from competing at this year’s Grand Slam.

According to The Times, a decision is finally close after two months of discussion between the All England Club and the UK Government, sparked by the invasion of Ukraine by Russian and Belarusian forces in February.

Following the invasion, the WTA and ATP suspended an event in Moscow in October. But neither governing body banned individual Russian and Belarusian athletes from playing.

Russia and Belarus were expelled from the Davis Cup and the Billie Jean King Cup, but otherwise players have been to compete in a neutral capacity, without displaying their national flag or having their national anthem played.

As such, Wimbledon would become the first elite tennis event to expressly prohibit Russian and Belarusian stars from competing.

Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev would be the notable absentees from the men’s tournament, while their Russian teammates Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Daria Kasatkina and Veronika Kudermetova would miss the women’s event.

The ban on Belarusian players would impact world number four Aryna Sabalenka, who reached the semi-finals of Wimbledon last year.

Former world number one Viktoria Azarenka, who progressed to the last four at Wimbledon in 2011 and 2012, would also miss out on the Grand Slam.

The decision to prohibit Russian and Belarusian players from Wimbledon is likely to upset WTA chief executive Steve Simon, who told BBC Sport in March that he disagreed with an outright ban.

“I feel very, very strongly that again these individual athletes should not be the ones that are being penalised by the decisions of an authoritarian leadership that is obviously doing terrible, reprehensible things,” he said.

“But if that happens, which is again part of the overall strategy of making Russia, and Russian citizens, pay the consequence for the decision their government has made, then it won’t be something that we support.”

Wimbledon is scheduled to run from June 27th to July 10th at the All England Lawn Tennis Club in London.

Ashleigh Barty will not be back to defend her women’s title after announcing her retirement last month.

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