Mar 16, 2022 09:00 am
Wimbledon organisers are having talks with the British government about whether Russian tennis players such as No 1-ranked Daniil Medvedev should be allowed to compete in the tournament this year if they don't distance themselves from President Vladimir Putin.
"Absolutely nobody flying the flag for Russia should be allowed. Many of us would be willing and able to (allow them to) compete as non-aligned, non-flag-bearing entities. But I think it needs to go beyond that. We need some potential assurances that they are not supporters of Vladimir Putin and we are considering what requirements we may need to try and get some assurances along those lines" said British Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston while speaking to legislators in London.
Asked by a member of parliament about any back-and-forth with the All England Club, which runs the grass-court Grand Slam tournament, Huddleston replied: "We are in discussions."
The All England Club confirmed that discussions were ongoing with both U.K. government and tennis governing bodies.
The seven groups that run the sport around the world have condemned the war; canceled events in Russia and Belarus, which helped with the invasion; kicked those two nations out of the Billie Jean King Cup and Davis Cup team competitions; and announced on March 1 that players from those countries will be allowed to compete in WTA, ATP and Grand Slam tournaments but not under the name or flag of Russia or Belarus.
Russia is the reigning champion in both the Billie Jean King Cup and Davis Cup, but the International Tennis Federation announced Monday that the country would be replaced in the 2022 Finals of each by the highest-ranked losing semifinalist in 2021. For the Billie Jean King Cup, that is Australia; for the Davis Cup, it's Serbia.
Wimbledon's deadline for player entries is May 16.