Wimbledon still mulling Russian participation

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Wimbledon has not made a decision on the participation of Russian and Belarusian players at the grass-court Grand Slam this year, organizers told Reuters on Friday, adding that they were continuing talks with key stakeholders.

The All England Lawn Tennis Club and the Lawn Tennis Association had banned players from the two countries from tournaments held in Britain following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, for which Belarus is a key staging area.

Wimbledon had said barring players from the two countries was its only viable option under the guidance provided by the British government.

The Grand Slam had its ranking points taken away, and the women’s and men’s tours imposed fines on the LTA and AELTC.

“We have not yet made a decision on entries for The Championships 2023,” a spokesperson for the AELTC, which organizes Wimbledon, told Reuters. “We are continuing to work very closely with the U.K. Government and key stakeholders in tennis on this matter.”

This year’s tournament is scheduled to run from July 3-16.

Wimbledon was the only Grand Slam to ban competitors from Russia and Belarus last year. Players competed as individual athletes without national affiliation at the other majors.

Russian and Belarusian flags were banned from the Melbourne Park precinct at the Australian Open earlier this year following a complaint from the Ukraine ambassador to the country.

Ukrainian player Elina Svitolina said last month that the Wimbledon ban must continue.

Russia’s former world No. 1 Daniil Medvedev said he would respect whatever decision Wimbledon makes. Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus echoed his sentiments, saying the decision was out of her control.

Two-time Wimbledon champion Andy Murray said this week that he expected Wimbledon organizers to allow Russian and Belarusian players to compete at the Grand Slam.

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