Andy Murray news: Scot ‘not supportive’ of Wimbledon ban on Russian players

Andy Murray pulls a face

Andy Murray has spoken out against the ban on Russian and Belarusian players from the Wimbledon Championships, admitting that he’s “not supportive” of the plan but he also conceded that there was no “right answer” for this difficult situation.

The UK Government gave Wimbledon organisers a directive which they said left them no choice but to ban players from these two countries following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Scot, who is donating his prize money from this season to UNICEF’s efforts in Ukraine, branded this decision from the Government as “not helpful” because it could put the families of the players in danger.

Andy Murray file photo
Andy Murray said the Government’s guidance to Russian and Belarusian players could put their families at risk (Steven Paston/PA)

“I’m not supportive of players getting banned,” the five time Australian Open champion told reporters in Spain ahead of his first-round match at the Madrid Open against Dominic Thiem.

“My understanding of the guidance was that Russians and Belarusians can play if they sign a declaration that they’re against the war and against the Russian regime. I’m not sure how comfortable I would feel if something happened to one of the players or their families (as a result).

“I don’t think there’s a right answer.”

The former world No 1 doesn’t want to pick sides but he can understand where the players and the Wimbledon organisers are coming from.

“I have spoken to some of the Russian players. I’ve spoken to some of the Ukrainian players. I feel really bad for the players who aren’t allowed to play and I get that it will seem unfair to them.

“But I also know some of the people who work at Wimbledon, and I know how difficult a position they were in.
“I feel for everyone, feel for the players that can’t play, and I don’t support one side or the other.”

The majority of the tennis world has been against this decision as both the ATP and WTA are considering whether to impose penalties on the Wimbledon organisers, despite the fact that Ukrainian players have come out in support of this ban.

21 time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal has called the ban “very unfair”.

Rafael Nadal File Photo
Nadal is playing his first tournament in six weeks after suffering a stress fracture of a rib (PA)

The Spaniard told reporters: “I think it’s very unfair (on) my Russian tennis mates, my colleagues. It’s not their fault what’s happening in this moment with the war.”

However, action against Wimbledon and the preceding grass-court tournaments run by the Lawn Tennis Association could include the removal of ranking points.

Nadal is a member of the ATP Player Council, and he added: “The 2,000 points, whenever we go to the grand slams, they are really important and we have to go to those tournaments. So we will have to see the measures that we take.

“At the end of the day, what happens in our game, it doesn’t have any importance when we can see so many people dying and suffering and seeing the bad situation they are having in Ukraine.”

Wimbledon gets underway from June 27.