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Wimbledon Bans Russian And Belarusian Players From 2022 Tournament

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Wimbledon Bans Russian And Belarusian Players From 2022 Tournament

Any hopes that world number two Dani Medvedev had of winning a Wimbledon title in 2022 have sensationally been dashed.

The All England Club announced the decision on Wednesday to ban all tennis players from Russia and Belarus from competing at this year's Wimbledon tournament because of the war in Ukraine.

Medvedev is the most prominent name on the men's side affected by the ban while it will also mean world number eight Andrey Rublev will not take the court.

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On the women's side some major stars are also out including, Belarusian world number four Aryna Sabalenka, former women's world number one and two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka and Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, the 2021 French Open runner-up.

It is the first time Wimbledon has banned athletes from specific countries from competing since after World War II.

Dani Medvedev. Credit: Getty Images
Dani Medvedev. Credit: Getty Images

Soccer, figure-skating and track and field have all banned Russian and Belarusian athletes and teams from their events because of the war with Belarus being a winning ally of Russia during its invasion of Ukraine.

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The Russian men's national soccer team was excluded from last month's World Cup qualifiers, forcing them to miss a chance to reach this year's tournament in Qatar.

Wednesday's move signals the first time a tennis tournament has told players from Russia and Belarus they are not welcome.

In their statement explaining the decision, The All England Club said the move came due to it not wanting the Russian regime to receive any benefit to the tournament, but it could be Belarusian star Sabalenka, a 2021 semi-finalist, who feels the affects the most given she potentially stood the best chance of winning.

 Aryna Sabalenka. Credit: Getty Images
Aryna Sabalenka. Credit: Getty Images
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"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," the All England Club said in a statement.

"It is therefore our intention, with deep regret, to decline entries from Russian and Belarusian players to The Championships 2022."

Russian Tennis Federation president Shamil Tarpischev told the country's Sport Express newspaper earlier that there was nothing it could do.

"I think this decision is wrong but there is nothing we can change," Mr Tarpischev said.

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"The [Russian] Tennis Federation has already done everything it could. I don't want to talk about this, but I will say that this decision goes against the athletes.

"We are working on the situation, that's all I can say."

Featured Image Credit: Getty Images

Topics: Wimbledon, Australia

Ryan Rosendale
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