Tennis superstars Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal are amongst a growing majority of athletes and fans alike, who stand disgusted and in disagreement over Wimbledon’s decision to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes from competing in the Grand Slam.
“I think it’s very unfair of (for) my Russian tennis mates, my colleagues … it’s not their fault what’s happening in this moment with the war,” Nadal said ahead of this week’s Madrid Open.
Nadal, currently the fourth-ranked men’s player in the world, continued: “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.”
He’s not alone in his thinking. Novak Djokovic, the world’s top-ranked player and a six-time Wimbledon champ, echoed similar statements: “I still stand by my position that I don’t support the (Wimbledon) decision. I think it’s just not fair, it’s not right, but it is what it is,” he said.
Djokovic was referencing his previous comments from late April when he told media members, in part: “I cannot support the decision of Wimbledon. I think it is crazy.” His comments prompted OutKick founder Clay Travis to credit Djokovic for speaking out intelligently about this issue.
Djokovic: It's not the same thing, but going through something similar earlier this year for myself, it's frustrating knowing that you're not able to play. I still stand by my position that I don't support the (Wimbledon) decision. I think it's just not fair, it's not right.
— Reem Abulleil (@ReemAbulleil) May 1, 2022
Wimbledon’s decision to ban the Russian and Belarusian players reminds Djokovic of his own situation from earlier this when the Australian Open prohibited him from competing because of his vaccination status. Djokovic acknowledged the seriousness of the situations differs, but there are similarities.
“It’s not the same thing, but going through something similar earlier this year for myself, it’s frustrating knowing that you’re not able to play,” said Djokovic.
The tournament, held at the All England Club since 1877, will commence without Russian or Belarusian athletes on June 27th.
Follow along on Twitter: @OhioAF