TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Russian players will not be allowed to compete at this year’s Wimbledon because of the ongoing invasion of Ukraine, according to reports.
It was first reported by Sportico, who was unsure if players from Belarus, a close ally to Russia during the conflict, would also be barred.
If it becomes official, the All England Lawn Tennis Club, the organizer of Wimbledon, would be the first tennis organization to outright prevent Russian tennis players from competing. Up to this point, all the major tennis federations have allowed Russians and Belarusians to compete, but have not allowed them to display their county’s flag or have their national anthems played.
Russia and Belarus have been allowed to compete in team competitions however.
The decision would have a major affect on the field, as two of the top-10 ranked men in the world are from Russia. Daniil Medvedev is ranked No. 2 in the Association of Tennis Professionals Men’s world rankings. Andrey Rublev is ranked No. 8.
Rublev made headlines last week when he took a public stance against the Russian invasion. Following a win in Dubai in March, he wrote “no war please” on a TV camera lens.
The women’s field would be equally as affected. There’s currently three Russians ranked in the world’s top 30: No. 15 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, No. 26 Daria Kasatkina and No. 29 Veronika Kudermetova.
If Belarussians were also barred, two more top-ranked female players, No. 4 Aryna Sabalenka and No. 18 Victoria Azarenka, would also not be allowed to play.
According to multiple outlets, the All England Club previously met with British officials earlier about a possible actions.
Though its the first in tennis, it wouldn’t be the first ban of Russian and Belarussian athletes in sports. Among the many are: the were not allowed to enter the Boston Marathon that took place earlier this week, Formula 1 ended its contract with the Russian Grand Prix and Russian soccer teams have not been allowed to play in FIFA or UEFA matches.
Wimbledon starts June 27.