Wimbledon Agrees To Let Russian Tennis Players Play, With A Major Stipulation

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Russian and Belarusian players are now allowed to participate in the upcoming Wimbledon tournament following a ban imposed over Russian president Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine.

However, with the lifted ban comes several stipulations.

Announced Wednesday, the All England Club allowed Russian and Belarusian players to join the tour this summer after setting the ban last year as tempers ran high over the war in Ukraine.

Wimbledon was the only major tournament to ban these groups.

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After facing backlash, the Club retracted its ban and warned Russian and Belarusian players that they must never mention support over the war in Ukraine or Putin during the event. Players will be booted out of the competition if the regulation is not observed. Neutral flags will also be flown for both groups.

The decision will allow several marquee players to participate at SW19, such as No. 6 Daniil Medvedev and No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka in the women’s tour.

Many people thought Wimbledon got it all wrong by choosing to ban these players, to begin with. After a year, it’s safe to say the decision wasn’t fully thought out.

OutKick founder Clay Travis spoke on the ban last year,

“I don’t believe you should hold individual athletes who are representing themselves primarily, not their countries … I don’t believe you should hold individual athletes responsible for the choices for their country makes.

“Particularly because we don’t even know what those individual athletes think about the invasion of Ukraine.”

One vocal opponent against the newly lifted ban is former top-ranked men’s tennis player Andy Murray. The Scot said he won’t be “going nuts” to see Russian and Belarusian players at Wimbledon.

Murray told the BBC,

“It’s a really difficult one and I do feel for the players who weren’t able to play last year – but I also understand the situation and why it’s really hard for Wimbledon to make a call on it as well. 

“My understanding is that they are going to be allowed to play and I’m not going to be going nuts if that is the case. But if Wimbledon went down another route, I would be understanding of that.”

Follow Alejandro Avila on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela
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Written by Alejandro Avila

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