Moscow was quick to react on Wednesday.
For the Kremlin, it would be "unacceptable" to ban Russian tennis players from participating in the next Wimbledon tournament, due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The British daily
indicates that the compatriots of Daniil Medvedev, current world No. 2, and Andrey Rublev (No. 8) should be deprived of the next edition of the London Grand Slam, from June 27 to July 10.
Such a measure would also affect Belarusians, due to the proximity of the Minsk and Moscow regimes, and would therefore target Aryna Sabalenka, 4th player in the world, as well as Viktoria Azarenka, former No. 1, now 18th.
Already excluded from the Davis Cup
Since the beginning of the Russian offensive on February 24, Russian and Belarusian players have been able to continue to participate in ATP and WTA competitions under a neutral flag.
This device was supposed to extend to the three Grand Slam tournaments still to be played in 2022, while the International Federation (ITF) had banned teams from both countries from participating in the Davis Cup and the Billie Jean King Cup (ex- FedCup).
But according to
, after nearly two months of talks, Wimbledon organizers are set to ban Russian and Belarusian players from taking part rather than adhere to a compromise solution proposed by the British government.
These negotiations were aimed at having these players sign a statement that they would not make favorable comments to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Wimbledon organizers believe signing such declarations could have a negative impact on the players' families.
This exclusion order is likely to apply to all UK grass-court tournaments this summer.
The Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), which oversees major Wimbledon warm-up tournaments such as Queen's and Eastbourne, said last week it would follow Wimbledon's lead.
“We think that from a public perspective and from a practical implementation point of view, there needs to be an alignment [between the All England Club and the LTA], to make it really clear and understood,” said Scott Lloyd, director. general of the LTA.
“It is of paramount importance.
Minimum service for Medvedev
Russian and Belarusian players have been quiet in their condemnation of the conflict, although Russian Andrey Rublev wrote "no war please" on a TV camera during a competition in Dubai just after the invasion.
“I want peace in the whole world”, was content to say Daniil Medvedev, recovering from an operation and uncertain for the next Roland-Garros.
Belarusian Victoria Azarenka, crowned twice at the Australian Open, was more frank.
“It is heartbreaking to see how many innocent people have been and continue to be affected by this violence,” the 32-year-old said in March.
“I have always seen and experienced Ukrainians and Belarusians as friendly people and supportive of each other.
It is difficult to witness the violent separation that is currently taking place, ”said the former world number 1.
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War in Ukraine