Will Wimbledon continue the Russian/Belarusian ban in 2023?

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We’re yet to learn the final decision of Wimbledon on whether Russian and Belarusian players will be allowed to compete at the Grand Slam event in 2023, but we do know that the WTA is set to halve the $1-million dollar fine if Wimbledon organizers do not repeat the ban this year.

Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus won her first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in January.

Players from Russia and Belarus were not allowed to enter Wimbledon 2022, due to political reasons leading to restrictions imposed by the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) and the All England Club (AELTC). As the WTA considered it to be unfair treatment of players based on their nationality, no ranking points were awarded to Wimbledon participants and the organizations were subsequently fined a total of $1 million.

Following an appeal, it has been ruled that the fines will be reduced to a total of $500,000 if the ban gets lifted, or if the WTA is satisfied with the efforts the LTA and AELTC make to find a resolution with the UK government for this year’s grass-court events. The fines are a significant, but the LTA’s biggest concern is that tournaments leading up to Wimbledon could be lost forever.

Even though Elina Svitolina and presumably other Ukrainian players hope for the sanctions to remain in effect, the WTA and ATP are both firmly against bans based on nationality and have said that they will cancel the LTA’s membership if such discrimination persists.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Although previously I was not against the ban, I am now inclined to think that the solution used by the other tournaments, where Russian and Belorussian players can play but their country is not identified, is a better one. It was a real pain that the ranking points for Wimbledon were not given to the people who earnt them and has skewed many other tournaments – like Elena Rybakina having to play qualifying for one of them. Maybe there could be some other acknowledgement to support Ukraine instead.
    However – firstly, I was really annoyed to read of Aryna Sabalenka complaining about the policy of not naming the countries – “I don’t feel like a person” she whinged. Tell that to the Ukranians who don’t know if their home is still there! Secondly, your reporting is somewhat coy. The ban is because Russia invaded Ukraine, not for “political reasons”. There is no justification for this invasion and you should be straightforward about what is going on.

  2. CLT, in my view, all wars happen because of politics and all sanctions are imposed because of politics and those politics are pretty much always beyond people on either side. That’s why I said political reasons as a general term. The fact that Sabalenka was sanctioned from Wimbledon was indeed a political reason, something related to her government, and not her doping or misbehavior.

  3. invasion, war crimes – result of internal ruSSian politics, cleptoctatic dictature – were happened. Sport as an enertainment branch is one of tools autorytarian regimes propaganda. Remember sistematic, state supported doping in ruSSia – cheating for helot’s good feeling by two days after Olimpics f.e. Country like ruSSia, Notth Corea, China, Belarus have no citizens, only minions. See Olimpia&Triumphs des Willens simultaneously. Taking away dictatorship one of toys is not so important, but one of element of fighting.
    Good feeling of sometimes nice person from ruSSia is not priority at the time. May be even they not take dope. Should ruSSian feels bad because if their nationality? Yes, of course&some small count honest ruSSians feel bad.
    One simple option: refugee’s team, there are precedent: small tournament in Warsaw, generally baned ruSSian by visa policy, get wildcard girl born n ruSSia

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