Russian tennis players will be barred from competing at Wimbledon in June, a decision that will prevent current world No. 2 Daniil Medvedev from playing in the season’s third Grand Slam.
The tennis tournament, held annually at the All England Club in London, will break from the rest of the tennis world by refusing to allow Russians to compete, according to someone familiar with the decision, who was granted anonymity because the conversations were private. Since the start of the Ukraine invasion in February, Russian tennis players have been allowed to remain on the ATP and WTA Tours.
Last month, British sports minister Nigel Huddleston suggested that Medvedev and his fellow Russian tennis players shouldn’t be allowed to compete at Wimbledon unless they assured the government that they were not a supporter of Putin.
It’s unclear if the ban will apply equally to Belarusian athletes, who have also been barred from recent athletic competitions because of the government’s close ties to Russia. An email sent to the All England Club’s press office after work hours wasn’t immediately returned. Olivier van Lindonk, Medvedev’s agent at IMG, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
Wimbledon will be just the latest international sports property to prevent Russians from competing as Vladimir Putin’s military continues its invasion of Ukraine, Russia’s neighbor to the south. In late February, the IOC recommended barring Russian athletes from international competition, a powerful statement that led to Russian teams and individuals being removed from competing in the Paralympics and dozens of other major international sporting events. The Russian soccer team was removed from qualifying for the men’s World Cup later this year; Russian and Belarusian runners were barred from the Boston Marathon earlier this week.
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In tennis, Russian and Belarusian athletes have been allowed to keep competing, but have been barred from doing so under their country’s name or flag. The ATP and WTA also suspended a combined event planned for Moscow in October. The French Open, the next Grand Slam on the calendar, reportedly has no plans to prevent Russians or Belarusians from playing next month.
In addition to Medvedev, who spent some time earlier this year as the world’s top-ranked man, there are three other Russian men in the top 100–Andrey Rublev (No. 8), Karen Khachanov (No. 26), and Aslan Karatsev (No. 30). The women’s rankings have eight, including No. 15 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and No. 26 Daria Kasatkina. There are a handful of other highly-ranked female Belarusians, including No. 4 Aryna Sabalenka and No. 18 Victoria Azarenka, a two-time Grand Slam winner.
The Wimbledon prize pool last year was about $45.5 million (35 million pounds). The men’s and women’s singles champions each took home about $2.2 million.