Wimbledon chief insists banning Russian and Belarusian players ‘was the right decision’

Wimbledon
Daniil Medvedev in front of Wimbledon logo

She “hugely regrets the impact it has on the individual players involved”, but Wimbledon Chief Executive Officer Sally Bolton says they “stand by” the decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players from The Championships.

World No 1 Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev and Karen Khachanov from Russia – to name just a few – are not competing at this year’s grass-court Grand Slam while former world No 1 Victoria Azarenka and Aryna Sabalenka are the most high-profile Belarusians missing from the main draw after the All England Club banned players from the two countries.

The decision came on the back of Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine earlier this year, but the move angered the ATP and WTA as the two organisations then hit back and stripped the major of ranking points.

Several star players have spoken out against the decisions, but Bolton insists it was the correct move for a “complicated” situation.

“It was an incredibly difficult and complex decision to make at the time,” she told BBC on Monday morning. “We spent a long time thinking about it and in making that decision. It was complicated but we stand by it.

“It was the right decision to make for the Championships. It’s still the right decision to make for the Championships. We hugely regret the impact it has on the individual players involved. But it remains the right decision for us this year.”

There was talk that several high-profile players could withdraw from Wimbledon due to the lack of ranking points, but all the big names have entered with Naomi Osaka the only one absent due to injury.

“I think when you look at the entry list and you look at the players that are present here ready to play in these two weeks, I think it speaks for itself in terms of whether this is considered to be a credible event or not,” Bolton added.

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