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Wimbledon: Chairman Ian Hewitt and General Manager Sally Bolton explain decision to ban Russian and Belarus players |  Tennis News


Wimbledon chairman Ian Hewitt has highlighted the British government’s role in the All England Club’s decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players from this year’s championship; “We believe we have made the most responsible decision possible”

Last update: 04/26/22 1:40 p.m.

US Open champion Daniil Medvedev has been banned from playing at Wimbledon this year

Wimbledon had “no viable alternative” but to ban Russian and Belarus players from this year’s championship, chairman Ian Hewitt told the All England Club’s spring briefing.

The All England Club made the announcement last week, ruling out US Open champion Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev and Aryna Sabalenka from participating in the Grand Slam.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Victoria Azarenka – two-time Australian Open champion – will also be absent.

Russian and Belarusian players were also banned from LTA grass tournaments this summer.

Wimbledon: Chairman Ian Hewitt and General Manager Sally Bolton explain decision to ban Russian and Belarus players |  Tennis News

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Chairman Ian Hewitt reiterates reasons for banning Russian and Belarusian players from Wimbledon this year

Chairman Ian Hewitt reiterates reasons for banning Russian and Belarusian players from Wimbledon this year

Expanding on the announcement, Hewitt highlighted the role of the UK government.

He said: “The UK government has set out guidelines for sporting bodies and events in the UK with the specific aim of limiting Russian influence.

“We have looked at the available options extensively. There are really two options: deny entries or allow entries, but only with specific statements (against the invasion of Ukraine) from individual players.

“We considered a wide variety of factors. After careful and thorough consideration, we came to two firm conclusions. First, even if we were to accept registrations (from Russian and Belarusian players) with written statements, we would risk that their success or their participation would be used for the benefit of the propaganda machine of the Russian regime, which we could not accept.

“Secondly, we have a duty to ensure that no action puts the players or their families at risk. We deeply understand and regret the impact this will have on everyone involved.

“We believe we have made the most responsible decision possible. We believe [given Government guidance] there is no viable alternative in this truly exceptional and tragic situation.”

Wimbledon: Chairman Ian Hewitt and General Manager Sally Bolton explain decision to ban Russian and Belarus players |  Tennis News

Wimbledon starts on Monday June 27

The WTA and ATP have both criticized Wimbledon’s decision and are holding meetings in Madrid this week to decide how to respond, with the possibility of dropping ranking points from the tournament.

Managing director Sally Bolton said they were in daily communication with touring, adding: “We will not speculate on what may or may not happen in the future.

“We continue to explain why we made the decision we made and the unique set of circumstances we find ourselves in here in the UK. They absolutely appreciate that.”

Bolton also revealed that discussions were underway with the government regarding Russian coaches and other officials, while Russian media would also be banned.

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