Wimbledon ban on Russian and Belarusian players “changed nothing” blasts star

1193     0
Aryna Sabalenka slammed the Wimbledon decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players in 2022 (Image: Christopher Pike/Getty Images)
Aryna Sabalenka slammed the Wimbledon decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players in 2022 (Image: Christopher Pike/Getty Images)

World number five Aryna Sabalenka has slammed Wimbledon’s decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players from the 2022 tournament.

The Belarusian criticised the decision, saying it had “changed nothing”, as she was one of several top players to miss out on the Grand Slam. Men’s Russian star Daniil Medvedev was another to miss the tournament.

The All England Lawn Tennis Club announced the ban due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, with Belarus a key ally and staging area for that invasion. The organisers were subsequently fined and the tournament was stripped of its ranking points by the ATP and WTA.

Sabalenka has now criticised that call as she hopes to return to the Grand Slam in 2023. The All England Club is yet to announce if the ban will remain in place at this year’s edition of the tournament.

“This is really terrible because no one supports war - no one,” the 24-year-old told Melbourne's Age newspaper. “The problem is we have to speak loud about that - but why should we scream about that in every corner? It's not going to help at all.

Russian model killed after calling Putin a 'psychopath' was strangled by her ex rridzziquridttinvRussian model killed after calling Putin a 'psychopath' was strangled by her ex

“I'm just really disappointed sport is somehow in politics. We're just athletes playing their sport.

“That's it. We're not about politics. If all of us could do something, we would, but we have zero control.

"They banned us from Wimbledon and what did it change? Nothing -- they're still doing this and this is the sad [part] of this situation."

Wimbledon ban on Russian and Belarusian players “changed nothing” blasts starWimbledon organisers were fined and stripped of ranking points after they announced the ban (Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

The war in Ukraine continues to rumble on as Russia renewed its bombardments with New Year approaching. The country’s full-scale invasion took place in February 2022, which means it is coming up to a full year since Ukraine was plunged into unimaginable turmoil.

Sabalenka reiterated that “no-one supports war” and also explained her disappointment at having to miss out on the grass court Grand Slam in South West London.

"It was a tough time. I was super disappointed with their decision," she said.

"I really missed the people because the atmosphere at Wimbledon is super amazing. You can feel these people really love tennis there, and I really miss them.

"I really hope that I'll play there [in 2023], just because of the people, to feel this atmosphere. But if they're going to ban us again... I don't care about Wimbledon's decision. The only thing I'll miss is the people."

Alasdair Hooper

Print page

Comments:

comments powered by Disqus