All Russian and Belarusian tennis players are banned from competing in the 2022 Wimbledon tennis tournament due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, which runs the Wimbledon Championships, announced the news on Wednesday.
“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 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,” the statement continued.
The ban is a huge blow to some of tennis’ biggest stars. Among those who now cannot compete at Wimbledon are the reigning U.S. Open champion and No. 2 men’s player in the world Daniil Medvedev; the No. 8 ranked men’s player Andrey Rublev; 2021 Wimbledon semifinalist and No. 4 female tennis player in the world Aryna Sabalenka; and the No. 15-ranked women’s player in the world, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
The All England Club also mentioned that it will reassess the ban as the tournament, which begins on June 27, draws closer.
It appears that barring Russian and Belarusian tennis players from Wimbledon 2022 comes regardless of the athletes’ personal feelings on the international crisis. For example, the day after Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Rublev wrote “no war please” on a television camera following his semifinal win at the Dubai Tennis Championships.
This is the latest ban against Russian athletes in the months since Russian President Vladimir Putin’s military invasion of Ukraine. Soccer federations FIFA and UEFA suspended Russia from all World Cup games “until further notice,” and Russia will now miss the upcoming World Cup in Qatar. Additionally, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) recommended that Russian and Belarusian athletes should be banned from all international sports competition back in February.