Wimbledon Will End the Ban of Players From Russia and Belarus

They will be permitted to compete, with some caveats

Wimbledon court from the outside
Court No.1 at Wimbledon
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

In 2022, in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Wimbledon announced that it would ban players from Russia and Russia-aligned Belarus from competing. A year later — and with this year’s installment of the tournament a few months away — the All England Club has announced a change in policy. It’s not a complete about-face on its previous position, but it does pave the way for players from both countries to compete in this summer’s tournament.

Players hailing from both Russia and Belarus will be able to play at Wimbledon this summer. That said, they’ll have to take a few steps before doing so, like agreeing to avoid funding from the Russian government and refusing to make statements in support of Russia’s war against Ukraine. As The Guardian reports, the athletes will also be required to state that they won’t be representing Russia or Belarus. According to the All England Club’s announcement, these guidelines were created via “constructive dialogue with the UK Government, the LTA and international stakeholder bodies in tennis.”

As recent events at the Miami Open demonstrated, there have been a few tense moments when players from both Ukraine and Russia have competed against one another. The guidelines for this year’s tournament at Wimbledon also prompt the question of whether any Russian or Belarusian players would find the requirements to compete too restrictive.

Effects of Russia-Ukraine War Felt at Miami Open
Ukrainian player Marta Kostyuk refused to shake her Russian opponent Anastasia Potapova’s hand

The chairman of the All England Club, Ian Hewitt, addressed the change in policies in a statement. “It is our view that, considering all factors, these are the most appropriate arrangements for The Championships for this year,” Hewitt said. “We are thankful for the Government’s support as we and our fellow tennis stakeholder bodies have navigated this complex matter and agreed on conditions we believe are workable.”

Hewitt also stated that, if circumstances in Ukraine or Russia changed between now and the start of the tournament, “we will consider and respond accordingly.”

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