Wimbledon lifts ban on Russian, Belarusian tennis players

Wimbledon 2023 will be held from July 3 to 16 at the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club in London. File Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI
Wimbledon 2023 will be held from July 3 to 16 at the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club in London. File Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI | License Photo

March 31 (UPI) -- Russian and Belarusian tennis players, who were banned from Wimbledon 2022 because of the invasion of Ukraine, will be allowed to play in the 2023 editions of the Grand Slam, tournament officials announced Friday.

The grass court tournament will be held July 3 through 16 at the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club in London.


"Our current intention is to accept entries from Russian and Belarusian players subject to them competing as 'neutral' athletes and complying with appropriate conditions," club officials said in a news release.

"These will prohibit expressions of support for Russia's invasion of Ukraine in various forms and prohibit entry by players receiving funding from the Russian and/or Belarusian states (including sponsorship from companies operated or controlled by the states) in relation to their participation in the championships."

RELATED Tennis: Alcaraz, Medvedev advance, Pegula upset at Miami Open

Officials said the conditions for the players to participate were developed through dialogue with the United Kingdom government, the Lawn Tennis Association and other tennis stakeholders around the world.

"There was a strong and very disappointing reaction from some governing bodies in tennis to the position taken by the All England Club and the LTA last year with consequences, which, if continued, would be damaging to the interests of players, fans, the championships and British tennis," officials said.


The other Grand Slam tournaments -- the French Open, U.S. Open and Australia Open -- allowed Russian and Belarusian athletes in 2022. The ATP, WTA and ITF responded to Wimbledon's 2022 decision by not awarding rankings points for any players who participated in the tournament. The parties cited "discrimination" as a reason behind that move.

RELATED Miami Open: Cirstea upsets heated Sabalenka to reach tennis semifinal

"We are pleased that all players will have an opportunity to compete at Wimbledon and LTA events this summer," the WTA and ATP said Friday in a joint statement. "It has taken a collaborative effort across the sport to arrive at a workable solution which protects the fairness of the game.

"This remains an extremely difficult situation and we would like to thank Wimbledon and the LTA for their efforts in reaching this outcome, while reiterating our unequivocal condemnation of Russia's war on Ukraine."

The move to allow Russians and Belarusians at Wimbledon 2023 comes amid tension between those players and Ukrainians on the WTA Tour, The Ukrainian players recently requested to meet with the WTA board of directors to discuss the matter. WTA officials said this week, during the 2023 Miami Open, that they are working to schedule that meeting.

RELATED Fritz, Sinner advance to Miami Open tennis quarterfinals

All England Club chairman Ian Hewitt said Wimbledon officials "continue to condemn totally Russia's illegal invasion" and their "wholehearted support remains" for Ukrainians.


"This was an incredibly difficult decision, not taken lightly or without a great deal of consideration for those who will be impacted," Hewitt said in the news release.

"It is our view that, considering all factors, these are the most appropriate arrangements for the championships for this year."

Hewitt added that officials will "respond accordingly" if circumstances "change materially" between now and the start of the tournament.

Scenes from the Miami Open

Daniil Medvedev holds the championship trophy after defeating Jannik Sinner in the men's final during the Miami Open at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., on April 2, 2023. Medvedev beat Sinner 7-5, 6-3. Photo by Gary I Rothstein/UPI | License Photo

Latest Headlines