London, March 31: Russian and Belarusian players are allowed to compete at Wimbledon this year after the All-England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) on Friday lifted the ban on players from the two countries, which was imposed last year in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The players from Russia and Belarus can take part subject to competing as 'neutral athletes' and complying with appropriate conditions which include -- not receiving funding from the Russian and/or Belarusian state (including sponsorship from companies operated or controlled by the state) and not to support the Russian and/or Belarusian state or their regimes and leaders. Miami Open 2023: Daniil Medvedev Downs Quentin Halys 6–4, 6–2, Reaches Quarterfinal.
The AELTC said the decision was taken after constructive dialogue with the UK Government, the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) and international stakeholder bodies in tennis. The LTA said that all Russian and Belarusian players and support staff who wish to take part in Wimbledon and all the UK warm-up events including the tournaments at Queen's and Eastbourne in 2023 will be required to sign neutrality declarations.
There will also be a zero-tolerance approach to any flags, symbols or other actions which support Russia, Belarus or the war from anyone in the venues, including players and spectators. "We continue to condemn totally Russia's illegal invasion and our wholehearted support remains with the people of Ukraine," Ian Hewitt, Chairman of the All-England Club said in a statement. "This was an incredibly difficult decision, not taken lightly or without a great deal of consideration for those who will be impacted. It is our view that considering all factors, these are the most appropriate arrangements for The Championships for this year."
Last year, the AELTC and LTA banned the Russian and Belarusian players from British tournaments which led to significant penalties being imposed on them by both the ATP and WTA tours. The LTA was hit with a fine and world ranking points were removed from last year's Wimbledon. Miami Open 2023: Carlos Alcaraz Beats Tommy Paul 6–4, 6–4, Reaches Quarterfinal.
The decision opened doors for Russian trio Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev, and Daria Kasatkina, the highest-profile players, to return to the championships, along with Belarusian women's singles player Aryna Sabalenka, who won the Australian Open earlier this year.
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Mar 31, 2023 10:49 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).