The French Open and Wimbledon have taken different judgments regarding the participation of sportsmen from Russia and Belarus because of the continuing conflict in Ukraine. The French Open administrators have opted not to follow Wimbledon’s lead and have barred Russian and Belarussian participants from competing in the Grand Slam competition. However, tournament director Amelie Mauresmo stated unequivocally that if any players express support for Russian President Vladimir Putin, penalties will be imposed.
The French Open director Amelie Mauresmo stated the situation to be extremely complex and there is zero probability of there being the right decision made. “It’s very complicated, probably there is no fair decision to take”. We keep the line of what all the European governments – and other governments – decided in March. National teams of Russia and Belarus banned, but not the athletes as individuals, as long as they play under strict neutrality. We will be very meticulous on that. If any of them should have pro-Putin statements in the media, there will be sanctions for sure.”
The All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club, which administers Wimbledon, has already confirmed that Russian and Belarusian players will be prohibited from competing in the Grand Slam event in June. However ATP is not very pleased with the same and opposes Wimbledon’s decision to prohibit Russians and Belarusians. The decision was reached, according to AELTC chairman Ian Hewitt, because the organization didn’t want Russia to profit from their tournament, as well as for the safety of the players and their families.
“First, even if we were to accept entries (from Russian and Belarusian players) with written declarations, we would risk their success or participation being used to benefit the propaganda machine of the Russian regime, which we could not accept, Second, we have a duty to ensure no actions should put players or their families at risk. “We understand and deeply regret the impact this will have on all the people affected. “We believe we have made the most responsible decision possible.” Hewitt said.
Daniil Medvedev and former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka would be among the top 50 men’s and women’s competitors. Other Russians excluded from the men’s draw are world No. 8 Andrey Rublev, Karen Khachanov (No. 26), and Aslan Karatsev (No. 34), as well as Belarusian world No. 48 Ilya Ivashka. In the women’s draw, Aryna Sabalenka (No. 5) and Aliaksandra Sasnovich (No. 50), while five Russian women Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (No. 15), Daria Kasatkina (No. 23), Veronika Kudermetova (No. 25), Ludmilla Samsonova (No. 26) and Ekaterina Alexandrova (No. 45) would also be excluded.
While the French Open has already started Wimbledon is set to begin from 27th June 2022.