Russian and Belarusian players will be able to compete at Wimbledon this summer after the All-England Club lifted the ban it imposed last year.
The players will be able to feature this year “subject to competing as neutral athletes” and complying with certain conditions.
They were banned in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the support provided by Belarus.
Wimbledon starts this year on 3 July at the All England Club (AELTC).
“We continue to condemn totally Russia’s illegal invasion and our wholehearted support remains with the people of Ukraine,” said AELTC chairman Ian Hewitt.
“This was an incredibly difficult decision, not taken lightly or without a great deal of consideration for those who will be impacted.”
The decision also covers other British events held in the run up to Wimbledon, most notably the tournaments at Queen’s and Eastbourne.
Conditions players must comply with include:
- Agreeing not to support the Russian and/or Belarusian states or their regimes and leaders
- Not receiving funding from Russian and/or Belarusian states, including sponsorship from companies operated or controlled by them
Outside Wimbledon and other British events, players have been able to compete on the game’s professional tours as neutrals – including in the other Grand Slams – whereas Wimbledon and the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) were fined for the bans imposed last year.
The AELTC said its decision for the 2023 championship was made after discussion with the UK government, the LTA and international stakeholders.
The AELTC and LTA said they stand by last year’s position but that without changing their stance this year, tennis’ two main professional tours, the men’s ATP and women’s WTA would have cancelled the LTA’s membership.
As a result, Queen’s, Eastbourne and other British grass-court events would not have been staged, damaging British tennis organisations financially.
Russian trio Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev and Daria Kasatkina – who are all in the top 10 of the men’s and women’s rankings – are among the high-profile names able to play this summer.
Belarusian women’s world number two Aryna Sabalenka, who won the Australian Open earlier this year, will also now likely feature.
Players and their support staff will have to sign neutrality declarations in order to compete.
Punishments for breaking the declarations will range from fines to expulsion from the tournament.
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