Wimbledon Ban Prompts Outcry From Top Male And Female Tennis Stars

We may still be a few weeks away from the grass court season in tennis, which of course means the Wimbledon Championshipthe third Grand Slam event of the season.

But already, there have been ominous rumblings about this years event, even with the French Open tournament in full swing across the English Channel in Paris.

And it is an issue that may well lead to a number of top-ranking stars electing to pull out of the event altogether and perhaps even avoid the short grass court season completely.

The reason for that is a complicated one.

All England Club Ban Prompts Outcry From Numerous Players

When Russia invaded Ukraine, a number of sanctions were imposed on Russian

Britain’s Andy Murray celebrates winning against Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili during their men’s singles first round match on the first day of the 2021 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on June 28, 2021. – – RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE ( Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)

and Belarusian sports stars across the world.

in the Champions League for example, Spartak Moscow were expelled from the competition and their opponents in the Knockout Stage, Red Bull Leipzig, awarded a walkover win into the next round.

Similarly, Russia were removed from the World Cup Playoffs that they had qualified for and in Formula 1, the Haas team cut ties with all its Russian sponsors and driver Nikita Mazepin.

Other sports said Russian and Belarusian stars could compete but not represent their country, others were a little more lenient, such as tennis, who said that their stars could continue to compete as it was a form of discrimination to deny them the chance to do so .

However, regardless of what previous tennis tournaments and tours had decided, the All England Clubprompted by the British Government, imposed a blanket ban on Russian and Belarusian players competing in the Wimbledon Championships.

In response, the tour has now stated that all ranking points that would have been available at the Wimbledon Championships, up to 6,000, will not be awarded at the event.

And that has had serious implications as to what could happen when the tournament gets underway on Monday 27th june.

Top Stars Question Wisdom Of Blanket Ban

Since the news about Wimbledon banning Russian and Belarusian players from competing, a

LONDON, ENGLAND – JUNE 28: Sloane Stephens of The United States celebrates match point in her Ladies’ Singles First Round match against Petra Kvitova of The Czech Republic during Day One of The Championships – Wimbledon 2021 at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on June 28, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

number of top tennis stars have questioned the call.

In the men’s game, top players such as Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and home players like Andy Murray and Cameron Norrie, have criticized the ban.

Similarly, in the women’s game, Naomi Osaka, Sloane Stephens and Viktoria Azarenka are some of the names who have openly criticized the decision.

Djokovic said it was a ‘lose-lose’ situation for everyone involved, Cameron Norrie has stated that he feels many of the top stars, especially those not motivated by money, will elect not to compete in the tournament and instead get themselves ready for the lucrative hard court season.

indeed, Naomi Osaka has already hinted she may not play at Wimbledon as it now effectively an ‘exhibition’ event.

Sloane Stephens, a member of the WTA Tour’s player council had strong feelings on the matter stating:

“The decision that’s been taken obviously wasn’t taken lightly. I think when you are backed into a corner and that’s all you can do, I think that’s why the decision was made, and I support it.”

“I think when you look at the principles and what our Tour stands for, discrimination will never be tolerated,”

Cosseted View?

It’s hard to marry the ATP and WTA tour’s stance compared to other sports and the horrors unfolding on a daily basis in the Ukraine.

While their concern for their Russian and Belarusian tour members may be well-intended, there is the burning question of what would happen if a Russian or Belarusian player was to win at Wimbledon?

What would happen to their Ukraine members, many of whom have stated that they want players from Russia and Belarus banned?

What would happen if Russian and Ukrainian players met in the tournament?

The tours argue that it is wrong to hold individuals accountable for their government’s actions, and that is correct.

However, the fact that these individuals cannot publicly condemn those actions, for fear of repercussions against them, or their family, should raise a red flag as to why.

The calls for Wimbledon to reverse the ban unfortunately seems to be a cosseted view held by multi-millionaire tennis stars whose primary interests, is only their own.

As if the tours were concerned about fairness and equality, then that would extend to Ukrainian players too. Not to mention the surviving citizens of the battle-scarred country.

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