Wimbledon has banned Russian and Belarusian players from the 2022 tournament in response to the invasion of Ukraine, but men’s tour organizers the ATP branded the move “unfair” on Wednesday.
The All England Lawn Tennis Club, which runs Wimbledon, said it was acting to “limit Russia’s global influence through the strongest means possible.”
Russian men’s world No. 2 Daniil Medvedev and Belarusian female world No. 4 Aryna Sabalenka — a Wimbledon semi-finalist last year — are the leading players affected by the ban.
“In the circumstances of such unjustified and unprecedented military aggression, it would be unacceptable for the Russian regime to derive any benefits from the involvement of Russian or Belarusian players,” an AELTC statement said.
“It is therefore our intention, with deep regret, to decline entries from Russian and Belarusian players to Wimbledon.”
The Lawn Tennis Association has also banned Russian or Belarusian players from competing in British grass-court tournaments, including Wimbledon warm-up events at Queen’s Club and Eastbourne.
Players from Russia and Belarus have been able to compete on the ATP and WTA tours since the war in Ukraine started, but they were not allowed to use their national flags.
The ITF had already banned both countries’ teams from the Davis Cup and the Billie Jean King Cup.
ATP bosses claim the Wimbledon ban is discriminatory and sets a damaging precedent.
“We believe that today’s unilateral decision by Wimbledon and the LTA to exclude players from Russia and Belarus from this year’s British grass-court swing is unfair and has the potential to set a damaging precedent for the game,” an ATP statement said.