— Published 27 April 2022

Wimbledon ran out of options

The time for decisions has passed, but now it is time for the organisers of the next Wimbledon tournament to explain their position. A week after announcing that Russian and Belarusian players would not be admitted this year, the British justified their position through the voice of the All England Club president, Ian Hewitt. According to him, players from the two banned countries would have been obliged, in order to participate in the Grand Slam tournament, to fill in “a written declaration” (against the invasion in Ukraine). “This request could have put the players and their families at risk, Ian Hewitt suggested, saying the condition was imposed by the British government. We believe we made the most responsible decision possible and that there was no other option,” he said on Tuesday 26 April. We also risked that their success or participation would be used by Russian propaganda, which we would not have accepted. As a reminder, Russia and Belarus have been banned by the ITF from the two team events where players are entered in a national team, Davis Cup and the Bille Jean King Cup. Elsewhere, with the exception of the upcoming Wimbledon tournament, Russians and Belarusians are still allowed to participate under a neutral banner.