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Tennis body faults Russian players’ exclusion from Wimbledon tournament

By Jerome Kalu

The Women Tennis Association (WTA) has faulted decisions by organisers of the Wimbledon tournament in England to exclude male and female players from Russia, due to their country’s invasion of Ukraine, resulting in loss of lives and property.

It said that Wimbledon’s decision was against Grand Slam rules and agreements reached between the tennis body as well as a violation of the regulations regarding athlete entry.

Speaking on the Russian players’ suspension, the WTA chief, Steve Simon, stressed that the association and the male counterpart, the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP), would not accept the development.

Simon, during an interview with newsmen, warned that the organizers have caused a high level of segregation between both the countries and the players.

She added that both the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) and the WTA are in discussions over the issue but their decisions will be independent.

“We don’t have the same jurisdiction over the Grand Slams as we do over our own sanctioned events. We have precedents where these situations may have occurred, where fines and tournament sanctions have been imposed.”

“We need to sit down with our tournament, our player councils and I suppose our board and see where everything’s at. I do think that you’ll see some strong reactions that will come from us, but what those are and how far they’ll go is still to be determined.”

Meanwhile, the ATP, which runs the men’s tour, and the WTA denounced the move as discriminatory, with the two world governing bodies saying they were evaluating sanctions in response.

According to the All England Club (AELTC) decision, it said that it had to play its part in the efforts of government, industry, sporting and creative institutions to limit Russia’s global influence through the strongest means possible.

The tennis regulatory body added that their decision of not allowing Russian and Belarusian players compete in events in the United Kingdom due to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine was real, though extremely disappointing to have announced it.

“The one thing that this sport has always agreed upon – we don’t agree on a lot of things but the one thing we have always been united on – was that entry into our events … has always been based up on merit and without discrimination.”

The AELTC is a body which organises the grasscourt major, and the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) tournaments.

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