Wimbledon is recognized as the most prestigious major tennis tournament and one of the biggest sporting events of the year, watched by millions of people around the world. Players like Novak Djokovic, Iga Swiatek, Rafael Nadal and Coco Gauff are looking to claim victory, but some players have been banned before a ball is touched.
As Wimbledon prepares to kick off, a number of players will be banned. The decision was made in April to bar anyone from Russia or Belarus from competing this year.
It comes after Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine earlier this year left thousands dead and more than 11 million citizens displaced. Russia’s bloody war against the neighboring country has left the world horrified and sporting circles have reacted in several ways, including sanctioning former Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich by moving the Champions League final from St. Petersburg and removing the Russian Formula 1 race from the F1 calendar. .
Wimbledon have challenged the ATP to stand firm on their ban decision despite facing criticism for their actions, including from Russian player Andrey Rublev, who insisted any prize money could have gone to the cause of Ukraine.
Novak Djokovic also argued that the war was not the tennis players‘ fault while Rafael Nadal said: “I feel sorry for them and I wish it wasn’t like this.” But former world number 31 Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine responded, saying: “Please tell me how fair is it that Ukrainian players can’t go home? How is it fair that Ukrainian children can’t play tennis? How fair is it that Ukrainians are dying?”
The biggest absence from the men’s side will be current US Open champion and current ATP No. 1 Daniil Medvedev, who reached the knockout stages last year at Wimbledon. He will be joined at home by the likes of No.8 Rublev, No.22 Karen Khachanov, No.40 Ilya Ivashka and No.43 Aslan Karatsev.
However, the women’s side of the draw will be more affected by the decision to ban all Russian and Belarusian players with 11 out in total. That includes world No. 6 Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus, who reached the semifinals last year and intended to go all the way this year, and No. 13 Daria Kasatkina.
Ludmilla Samsonova, Veronika Kudermetova, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Victoria Azarenka, Ekaterina Alexandrova, Aliaksandra Sasnovich, Varvara Gracheva, Anna Kalinskaya and Anastasia Potapova will also not be present.
However, one player might have found a way to sneak into the tournament, with doubles star Natela Dzalamidze, currently ranked No. 43 in the world, changing her nationality to Georgian in order to compete at Wimbledon this month . The Russian-born player holds a double passport, which allows her access to SW19.
FULL LIST OF BANNED PLAYERS
1 Daniel Medvedev
8 Andrei Rublev
22 Karen Khachanov
40 Ilya Ivashka
43 Aslan Karatsev
6 Aryna Sabalenka
13 Daria Kasatkina
20 Viktoria Azarenka
21 Veronika Kudermetova
30 Ekaterina Alexandrova
35 Aliaksandra Sasnovitch
47 Lyudmila Samsonova
69 Varvara Gracheva
78 Anna Kalinskaya
83 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
87 Anastasia Potapova