Russian and Belarusian
players are expected to play at Wimbledon next year, and the All England Club (AELTC) is reportedly on the verge of lifting its controversial ban.
Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev, Victoria Azarenka and Aryna Sabalenka missed this year’s SW19 grass-court Grand Slam after AELTC and the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) banned players from Russia and Belarus from playing tournaments in the UK.
The move came in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, but the decision did not go down well with the ATP and WTA as they retaliated by stripping Wimbledon of ranking points.
The ATP also fined the LTA $1 million this week while the WTA followed a similar path in July when the LTA was fined $750,000 and the AELTC £250,000.
But things don’t end there, as British tennis has been threatened with a ban from the ATP Tour if it repeats the ban this year.
The LTA is yet to confirm its response to the fine, but it said in a statement: “The LTA is deeply disappointed with this result. In its conclusion, the ATP failed to acknowledge the exceptional circumstances created by the Russian invasion of Ukraine or the response of the international sporting community and the UK government to that invasion.”
The fines will have a major impact on the LTA’s ability to host tennis events and develop players.
“For example, we planned to host a series of ATP Challenger level events in the first quarter of 2023 to give lower-ranked players more opportunities and we won’t be able to do that now, especially given the possibility of more fines.” added to the statement.
Wimbledon and the LTA were essentially left alone with the ban due to a lack of support from the other Grand Slams (Australian Open, French Open and US Open) and The Times reports that AELTC is now considering lifting the ban. due to high levels of fines and threats. deportation
However, the All England Club could be prevented from reversing the ban, as the British government stands firm when it comes to banning Russian and Belarusian athletes from sporting events.
Culture Minister Michelle Donelan said in a statement: “We are aware that sport cannot be used to legitimize this deadly invasion and that athletes representing Russia and the Belarusian states should be prohibited from competing in other countries to participate in competitions.
“Despite widespread condemnation, international tennis tournaments are determined to be pariahs in this regard, making it difficult to invest in the growth of our national game.”