Wimbledon ban divides tennis fans after Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal speak against it
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Tennis fans can’t decide whether Wimbledon were right to ban Russian and Belarusian players from this year’s tournament. The All England Club announced the ban in April after Russia invaded Ukraine, with blockbuster stars Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal later speaking out against it.
Ahead of the 2022 edition of the tournament, which is due to begin later this month, we asked Express Sport readers if Wimbledon’s decision was the correct one. And fans could see both sides of the argument as 50.6 per cent of respondents said Wimbledon were right to ban players from those countries, while 45.6 per cent of respondents said they were not. And 3.8 per cent of readers said they weren’t sure.
The debate around the ban will rage on as the tournament approaches, with the likes of current US Open champion and world No 2 Daniil Medvedev missing from the men’s tournament, along with world No 7 Andrey Rublev, No 25 Karen Khachanov, No 41 Aslan Karatsev and No 50 Ilya Ivashka.
And the women’s draw will be affected even more, with world No 7 Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus the highest seed set to miss out on a place. Joining her will be No 15 Viktoria Azarenka from Russia and No 20 Darya Kasatkina as well as Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Veronika Kudermetova, Ludmilla Samsonova, Ekaterina Alexandrova, Aliaksandra Sanovich, Varvara Gracheva, Anna Kalinskaya, Anastasia Potapova, and Kamilla Rakhimova.
“They haven’t discussed it with anybody from ATP or any individual players or, for that matter, Russian or Belarusian players – to just communicate and understand whether there is a common ground where both sides could be making a compromise and something could work out,” Djokovic said about the All England Club’s decision last month. “So I think it was a wrong decision. I don’t support that at all.”
And Nadal, speaking ahead of the Madrid Open, said: “I think it’s very unfair [on] my Russian tennis mates, my colleagues. It’s not their fault what’s happening in this moment with the war.”
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The All England Club insisted they didn’t want the Russian regime to benefit from players’ involvement at the tournament as they announced their sanctions, with the ATP subsequently stripping the tournament of ranking points.
“Given the profile of The Championships in the United Kingdom and around the world, it is our responsibility to play our part in the widespread efforts of Government, industry, sporting and creative institutions to limit Russia’s global influence through the strongest means possible,” read a statement on the Wimbledon website.
“In the circumstances of such unjustified and unprecedented military aggression, it would be unacceptable for the Russian regime to derive any benefits from the involvement of Russian or Belarusian players with The Championships.”
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