Novak Djokovic, the No. 1 tennis player in the world, does not agree with Wimbledon’s decision to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes from competing in the sport’s oldest Grand Slam.
“I think it is crazy,” Djokovic said yesterday at an ATP event.
Wimbledon’s decision was based on alleged ties between the Belarusian and Russian governments. This despite the fact that no known athletes – Russian or Belarusian – have spoken out in favor of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
"I cannot support the decision of Wimbledon. I think it is crazy."
– Novak Djokovic pic.twitter.com/xifN2hNkhf
— Sam Street (@samstreetwrites) April 21, 2022
“I don’t believe you should hold individual athletes who are representing themselves primarily, not their countries,” Clay elaborated. “… I don’t believe you should hold individual athletes responsible for the choices their country makes.”
Djokovic echoed similar thoughts Wednesday, suggesting that politics and sports shouldn’t mix.
“The players, the tennis players, the athletes have nothing to do with (the Russia-Ukraine war). When politics interferes with sport, the result is not good,” added Djokovic.
Because of the largely unpopular ban on Russians and Belarusians, Djokovic’s top rival, Daniil Medvedev — the No. 2 men’s player in the world — will be amongst those prohibited from participating, through no fault of his own.
“I will always condemn war, I will never support war being myself a child of war,” Djokovic insisted. “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.”
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