Because of the exclusion of Russian women
WTA now wants to punish Wimbledon
4/22/2022, 8:42 am
The organizers of Wimbledon, the most prestigious tournament in world tennis, are banning Russian and Belarusian professionals. This causes trouble, the women’s professional association is apparently already working on the consequences.
According to the French sports newspaper “L’Equipe”, the women’s tennis organization WTA is considering sanctions against Wimbledon because the tournament organizers want to exclude Russian and Belarusian professionals this year. The newspaper reported this, citing a corresponding email from WTA boss Steve Simon, which it says it has.
In it, the American condemned the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. Simon also points out that no player has ever been denied participation in a tournament due to the actions of their respective government. The exclusion announced by the Wimbledon organizers on Wednesday violates the Grand Slam rules and the rules of the WTA.
The grass classic, taking place in London from June 27th to July 10th, is the third of the four Grand Slam tournaments, which are the most important events of the tennis season. As one of the possible sanctions, Simon said that the world ranking points earned in Wimbledon would not be counted. In Madrid, where a large joint tournament of women and men will take place next week, a meeting attended by tournament bosses, representatives of the players and the WTA should discuss the next steps.
Women’s tennis icon Billie Jean King, who played a key role in founding the WTA almost 50 years ago, also rejected the Wimbledon decision. “I cannot support the exclusion of individual athletes from tournaments just because of their nationality,” wrote the 78-year-old on Twitter. Instead, the focus should be on financial support for Ukraine.
The ATP, the association of male tennis professionals, said it was “unfair” to discriminate against players because of their nationality and the decision had “the potential to set a damaging precedent”. Serbian top star Novak Djokovic simply called the Wimbledon organizers’ decision “crazy”. Athletes in general have nothing to do with the war, said the Serbian world number one. “If politics interferes with sport, the result is not good,” said the six-time Wimbledon champion. In view of the wars in the Balkans, the 34-year-old recalled that he himself was a war child. Djokovic emphasized that he was the first to condemn wars, also with a view to the suffering of the civilian population in wars.