Wimbledon bans Russian and Belarusian players from tennis championship

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London — Tennis players from Russia and Belarus will not be allowed to play in the 2022 Wimbledon tennis tournament this year, the All England Club, which runs the tournament, said Wednesday. The tournament is set to begin on June 27.

"We wish to express our ongoing support for all those impacted by the conflict in Ukraine during these shocking and distressing times," the All England Club and the Committee of Management of The Championships said in a statement.

"Given the profile of The Championships in the United Kingdom and around the world, it is our responsibility to play our part in the widespread efforts of Government, industry, sporting and creative institutions to limit Russia's global influence through the strongest means possible. 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 statement said.

Reigning U.S. Open champion Daniil Medvedev, who is No. 2 in the ATP rankings, is among the prominent players affected by the ban. Two-time Australian open winner Victoria Azarenka is also affected, along with Andrey Rublev, Aryna Sabalenka, and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

The Wimbledon organizers said that they would respond accordingly if circumstances "change materially" before the start of the tournament.

"We have very carefully considered the alternative measures that might be taken within the UK Government guidance but, given the high profile environment of The Championships, the importance of not allowing sport to be used to promote the Russian regime and our broader concerns for public and player (including family) safety, we do not believe it is viable to proceed on any other basis at The Championships," Ian Hewitt, the Chairman of the All England Club, said.

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