Tennis players from Russia and Belarus will not be allowed to compete at Wimbledon this year due to Russia’s “unjustified” invasion of Ukraine, the All England Club announced Wednesday.
“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,” the All England Club said in a statement. “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.
“It is therefore our intention, with deep regret, to decline entries from Russian and Belarusian players to The Championships 2022.”
The decision would be reconsidered “if circumstances change materially between now and June,” the statement said.
Wimbledon begins June 27 and runs through July 10.
Belarus is a key staging area for the invasion, which Russia calls a “special operation.”
Wimbledon has not banned athletes from countries since after World War II, when players from Germany and Japan were not allowed to compete.
Wednesday’s move signals the first time a tennis tournament has told players from Russia and Belarus they are not welcome. The seven groups that run the sport around the world decided March 1 that players from those countries would be allowed to compete in WTA, ATP and Grand Slam tournaments but not under the name or flag of Russia or Belarus. Those nations also were kicked out of the Billie Jean King Cup and Davis Cup team competitions.
Russian and Belarusian players will be allowed to compete at the French Open, which begins May 22, but as neutral athletes.