The three main tournaments allow Russian players to compete without flags or anthems, but it seems likely the All England Club will take stricter measures when Wimbledon starts this summer
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The All England Club has been told its status as an independent tournament means it could impose a ban on Russian players who do not condemn Putin’s actions – and face no legal consequences. Other events on the tour have remained neutral amid fears they could be taken to court, but the London tournament has a different status.
The three main tennis tournaments administered by the ATP, WTA and ITF have so far allowed Russian athletes to continue playing as long as they compete under a neutral flag and with no anthem played. However, a spokesman for the AELTC seems to have confirmed that the championships could potentially prompt Russian athletes to go one step further.
“Private member clubs have more freedom over who they allow entry or not, so they would not be subject to the same discrimination laws as the tours,” the spokesman said. “When you manage the main tennis tour you have the freedom to suspend players – if they are found guilty of match-fixing or doping, for example – but you must be able to show that this practice is reasonable.
“In this case, Russian players could argue that if the tours took strong action, they would be prevented from earning a living through no fault of their own. For Wimbledon, however, that is not such a big problem.
The Wimbledon registration deadline is set for mid-May and the AELTC are hoping to publish their guidelines in the next month or so. It would allow affected players to know what is expected of them if they hope to play in the grass court Grand Slam.
Popper photo via Getty Images)
Recent horrific images of war crimes being committed in the Kyiv suburbs have only reinforced the words of Sport Minister Nigel Huddlestone, who said Putin must not be allowed to politically exploit Russian athletes and their achievements in Britain. Huddlestone has previously suggested that Medvedev and world No. 5 Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka would only be allowed to attend major sporting events in Britain if they signed a form denouncing Putin and his actions.
“We would like to be assured in a written statement that they will not receive any money from Putin, Russia or Belarus [and] that they will not make any supportive comments about Putin, Russia or Belarus,” Huddleston said last week.
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In practice, such a move seems too dangerous for any Russian player, provided they have family in their home country. There is a realistic chance that Wimbledon will be held without the participation of Russian athletes.
Wimbledon’s stance will no doubt put pressure on other grass court events set to be held in the UK such as; B.Queen’s. The Lawn Tennis Association insists they hold discussions with the Tours on the issue – as well as the AELTC – but they reportedly conceded they have less time and influence to make such a decision than Wimbledon.
Huddlestone is most concerned about the participation and performance of world number two Medvedev. Meanwhile, the Russian announced over the weekend that he is suffering from a hernia and will miss the next two months of tennis.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/tennis/wimbledon-ban-daniil-medvedev-putin-26632462 Wimbledon is poised to ban Daniil Medvedev over fears the win could empower Vladimir Putin