STARNBERG, June 23, 2022 (Guest Post)
Wimbledon is one of the many prestigious tennis tournaments on the face of the Earth. It pits the best tennis players around the world against each other so only the best one wins. But this year, Wimbledon will not accept Russian players due to the ongoing crisis that has shaken Europe.
In short, Russia invaded Ukraine sometime in February claiming that the invaded territory has historically belonged to Russia. However, the Ukrainian leader along with millions of brave Ukrainians stood up and are slowly but surely repelling Russian forces. Some European countries have stood by Ukraine by imposing sanctions on Russia and aiding Ukraine with weapons and volunteers.
There’s no question about it, this is a global crisis which is why Wimbledon decided to ban Russian players from participating. How does this impact the tournament?
The Current Situation
Wimbledon players come from all sorts of countries and only 4 of the top 100 players are Russian, but they are formidable opponents nonetheless. The ban that Wimbledon issued was to stop the Russian influence on the world.
However, it affects the singles draw at The Championships. The men’s section is left without World No. 1 Daniil Medvedev as well as Andrey Rublev, Aslan Karatsev, and others. The women’s section will be left without the likes of Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Veronika Kudermetova, and others. Besides the Russian players, Belarussian players are also banned from participating in the tournament.
But there’s one instance of a player who made it into Wimbledon besides having a Russian nationality. The woman in question is Natela Dzalamidze, who managed to change her nationality to Georgian before the ban was announced and is going to take part in the Wimbledon tournament. Her father is Georgian, and she has had a Georgian passport for the past 6 years. For her, it’s only natural to change her nationality because it gives her a chance to represent her father’s country at Wimbledon. Her partner in the Women’s Doubles will be Serbian tennis player Aleksandra Krunic.
Other Tennis Associations
It seems that the other tennis associations have taken the same stand as Wimbledon, while others disagree with them. The ATP and WTA are part of the minority that seems to be taking on an impartial position when it comes to Russian tennis players.
Officials at ATP have accused the Wimbledon’s and LTA’s decisions on banning Russian players as unfair. Additionally, they have reminded the officials at Wimbledon that by banning Russian players they’re breaking their own rules on discriminating against players based on nationality. The WTA took a similar stand by announcing that Wimbledon’s decision to ban Russian players is not fair as athletes should compete against each other regardless of their nationality.
But it seems that the a couple of sports associations have set their minds on keeping Russian athletes out. Russian tennis players that have been banned from participating at Wimbledon have issued statements about the ban saying that they don’t want war and are against what’s currently happening in Ukraine. But it seems that their statements have fallen on deaf ears.
It seems that this year’s Wimbledon will go on without its Russian stars. The question remains whether Wimbledon officials made the right decision when banning them. The conflict in Ukraine is far from over and it’s possible that once it’s finished that Russian tennis players will participate in the tournament again.