Russian and Belarusian tennis players will be banned from competing at Wimbledon, the organization responsible for the tournament, this summer announced Wednesday.
The All England Club ban affects a number of high-profile tennis players, including Russia’s Daniil Medvedev, number two in the men’s world, and Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka, number four in the women’s world.
In response, Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov called the ban “unacceptable”.
“Since … Russian tennis players are at the top of the world rankings, the competitions themselves will suffer from their distance,” he added.
It is the first time a tennis organization has officially banned Belarusian and Russian players from participating. Others, like the International Tennis Federation, have approved Individuals to play but players banned from playing for their country or showing national badges.
“We are aware that this is hard for the people involved and it is with sorrow that they will suffer at the actions of the leaders of the Russian regime.” called All England Club chairman Ian Hewitt in a statement.
“But given the high-profile environment of the Championships, the importance of not misusing sport to further the Russian regime, and our broader concerns for the safety of the public and players (including family), we do not believe it is feasible to proceed. ”
The ATP Tour, another global tennis federation, sentenced the decision on Wednesday, calling it “unfair” in a statement. It also argued that “nationality discrimination” went against its agreement with Wimbledon, which governs the qualification of players “solely” based on their ranking.