Reactions to Wimbledon banning Russian and Belarusian players

Following are reactions to Russian and Belarusian players being barred from competing at this year's Wimbledon due to Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

REPRESENTATIVE IMAGE: Russian and Belarusian players have been barred from competing at this year's Wimbledon due to Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.   -  GETTY IMAGES

Following are reactions to Russian and Belarusian players being barred from competing at this year's Wimbledon due to Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

Belarus is a key staging area for the invasion, which Russia calls a "special military operation".

UKRAINIAN PLAYERS ELINA SVITOLINA, MARTA KOSTYUK AND SERGIY STAKHOVSKY

"We demand to exclude and ban Russian and Belarusian athletes from competing in any international event, as Wimbledon has already done.

"In times of crisis, silence means agreeing with what is happening. We noticed that some Russian and Belarusian players at some point vaguely mentioned the war, but never clearly stating that Russia and Belarus started it on the territory of Ukraine.

"The very silence of those who choose to remain that way right now is unbearable as it leads to the continuation of murder in our homeland."

LAWN TENNIS ASSOCIATION

"The LTA is today united with the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) in announcing a ban on all Russian and Belarusian players at its events.

"After careful consideration the LTA believes that tennis must join many other areas of sport and public life in sending a clear signal to the Russian and Belarusian states that their actions in Ukraine are the subject of international condemnation."

NIGEL HUDDLESTON, BRITISH SPORTS MINISTER

"The UK has taken a leading role internationally to make clear that President (Vladimir) Putin must not be able to use sport to legitimise Russia's barbaric invasion of Ukraine.

Djokovic slams 'crazy' Wimbledon ban on Russian, Belarusian players  

"We have set out our position with sport governing bodies and event organisers and will continue to encourage them to take appropriate action for their sport."

ASSOCIATION OF TENNIS PROFESSIONALS (ATP)

"We believe that today's unilateral decision by Wimbledon and the LTA to exclude players from Russia and Belarus from this year's British grass-court swing is unfair and has the potential to set a damaging precedent for the game.

"Discrimination based on nationality also constitutes a violation of our agreement with Wimbledon that states that player entry is based solely on ATP Rankings.

"It is important to stress that players from Russia and Belarus will continue to be allowed to compete at ATP events under a neutral flag."

WOMEN'S TENNIS ASSOCIATION (WTA)

"The WTA strongly condemns the actions that have been taken by Russia and its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. We continue our humanitarian relief efforts to support Ukraine through Tennis Plays for Peace.

We are, however, very disappointed in today’s announcement by the AELTC and the LTA to ban individual athletes who are from Russia and Belarus from competing in the upcoming UK grass court events.   A fundamental principal of the WTA is that individual athletes may participate in professional tennis events based on merit and without any form of discrimination. That principle is expressly set forth in our rules and has been agreed to by both AELTC and LTA.  Prohibitions against discrimination are also clearly expressed in their own rules and the Grand Slam rules.

"As the WTA has consistently stated, individual athletes should not be penalized or prevented from competing due to where they are from, or the decisions made by the governments of their countries.  Discrimination, and the decision to focus such discrimination against athletes competing on their own as individuals, is neither fair nor justified.  The WTA will continue to apply its rules to reject discrimination and ensure that all athletes are able to compete at our Tour events should they qualify to do so, a position that until today’s announcement has been shared across professional tennis. The WTA will be evaluating its next steps and what actions may be taken regarding these decisions."

INTERNATIONAL TENNIS FEDERATION (ITF)

"The decision by the AELTC and the LTA has raised several questions and we are currently discussing those with each organisation."

GLOBAL ATHLETE, INTERNATIONAL ATHLETE-LED PRESSURE BODY

"Banning Russian and Belarusian athletes will also protect these athletes who have no choice to remove themselves from competitions. These athletes must follow the orders from their countries' leaders.

"Time for the @WTA, @atptour and @ITFTennis to take swift action."

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