Italy mulls Rome ban for Russian tennis stars – RT Sport News

Italian authorities are reportedly debating whether a ban should be imposed on Russian players, which would prevent them from participating in the upcoming Italian Open in Rome.

This week, in the face of widespread criticism of world number one Novak Djokovic, Billie Jean King and the WTA and ATP women’s and men’s tours, the All England Club announced that Russian athletes could not play Wimbledon this summer in harsh response to the military operation in Ukraine which was strongly encouraged by British Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston.

According to Italy’s Corriere della Sera, however, the local government is considering following the All England Club’s example and also banning Russian stars from playing at the Italian Open in Rome.

The Italian newspaper notes that Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s decision is taken on the matter. Still, Draghi wants to avoid rash moves and is wary of fears from the Italian Tennis Federation that a backlash from the ATP and WTA could lead to sanctions and risk the Italian Open being dropped from the prestigious list. ATP Tour Masters 1000.

The differences between the Italian Open and Wimbledon, the only Grand Slam organized by individuals, were also taken into account.

While defending US Open champion Daniil Medvedev is said to be a doubt for the Italian Open on May 2 given his current recovery from surgery to fix a small hernia, any decision to ban Russian players would affect other personalities such as world number eight Andrey Rublev.

Rublev scored the Wimbledon decision “total discrimination”while Djokovic, who lost to Medvedev in the final at Flushing Meadows last fall, criticized the move he banned “mad”.

“I will always condemn war. I will never support war being myself a child of war”, Djokovic explained to reporters in Belgrade during the Serbian Open.

“I know how emotionally traumatized it is. 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’s crazy. When politics interferes with sport, the result is not good,” Djokovic concluded.

The All-England club announcement came ahead of schedule after being tipped for a mid-May release.

Amid heavy sanctions on UK-based Russians with alleged links to Vladimir Putin, like Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, Sports Minister Huddleston initially demanded in writing “insurance” of Medvedev and Rublev that they were not “receiving money from Putin, Russia or Belarus” and would not “to make comments favorable to Putin, Russia or Belarus” during the tournament organized by SW19.

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