Petra Kvitova on Wimbledon lifting Russian ban: ‘I think they shouldn’t be allowed to play’
Players were not consulted about the All England Club’s (AELTC) decision to allow Russian and Belarusian players to compete at Wimbledon this year with Petra Kvitova one of the few players to openly state that she is not in favour of the U-turn.
AELTC and the Lawn Tennis Association announced on Friday that players from the two countries will be allowed play at grass-court tournaments in the United Kingdom this year, but they will do so as “neutral” athletes.
Other conditions include players being prohibited from “expressions of support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in various forms” while they are also not allowed to receive “funding from the Russian and/or Belarusian states (including sponsorship from companies operated or controlled by the states) in relation to their participation in The Championships”.
The move comes after the two organisations banned Russian and Belarusian players from competing last year on the back of Moscow’s invasion of the Ukraine in February. It resulted in a tit-for-tat spat as the ATP and WTA then stripped Wimbledon of ranking points while the LTA was fined and threatened with expulsion.
The ban, though, has been reversed and while many, including Russian pair Daniil Medvedev and Karen Khachanov, have welcomed the decision, Kvitova stated that she was not happy with the decision.
“I always state that I’m against the war. I’m just more worried about the Ukrainian people and players,” the two-time Wimbledon champion said.
“I appreciate that Wimbledon had a tough time last year not giving the points [after] Belarusians and Russians didn’t play.
“And I think they shouldn’t be allowed [to play], actually, in my opinion, either to Olympics. I’m still a bit on the Ukrainian side of this.”
Asked for clarification she added: “Not in the Olympics, for sure, because I feel the Games are because we don’t want a war in the world. That’s my concern. I’m really appreciating that Wimbledon didn’t take them last year.”
The former world No 1 was then asked if players were consulted before a decision was made and she replied: “No, we are not talking about this in the locker room.”
When asked if the All England Club talked with players she answered: “No.”
Ukraine Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleb has hit out at the decision and urged the British government to prevent athletes from the two countries from entering the UK by denying them visas.
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