Why an ATP fine for British tennis could reverse ban on Russians and Belarusians at Wimbledon 2023

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The decision of Wimbledon excluding Russian and Belarusian players from its 2022 edition, as part of the sanctions for the invasion and war in Ukraine (also applied to the other grass-court tour events held in Great Britain), has cost the British tennis club dearly. In the end that the WTA in July, in full tournament; Now added a major penalty from the men’s circuit. Is that the ATP extension reported an economic fine of one million dollars for the Table Tennis Association (LTA, the federation that governs sport in that country), which was accompanied by a warning: if you don’t change your position for the 2023 edition, you could lose the tournaments of Of the Queen Y eastbournethe two events preceding the English Grand Slam which it organizes each year.

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The announcement hit hard in all of England, who is considering lifting his ban for next season. According to the newspaper The TelegraphAlthough a resolution has not yet been made, some members of the club’s hierarchy believe it is not a good idea to maintain the position, which has generated much controversy and criticism from fans, players and other members of the tennis world.

The British Major was played from 27 June to 10 July and did not distribute world ranking points, following a strong response from the ATP and WTA to the exclusion of Russian and Belarusian players from the tournament, which they deemed “discriminatory”.

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It is worth mentioning that the rackets of those countries were able to play the rest of the tournaments on the calendar, even if they did so under a neutral flag, by decision of the three entities that govern world tennis. But the English Grand Slam, independent of those associations, took the punishment further, following the recommendations of the British government.

For instance, Novak Djokovic he could not defend the 2,000 points he earned in 2020 when he was crowned champion, despite repeating the previous season’s performance on English ground, where he added his 21st Major.

Days into the tournament, the Women’s Tennis Association fined the LTA and All England $750,000 and $250,000, respectively, for banning Russian and Belarusian women from tournaments held on British soil (in addition to the Grand Slam, the Eastbourne Pageants, Nottingham Y Birmingham). The fine was appealed by the British federation.

This Wednesday, upon hearing of the new punishment, the LTA accused the ATP of “lack of empathy”.

“The LTA is deeply disappointed with this outcome,” it said in a statement. “The ATP has shown no acknowledgment of the exceptional circumstances created by the Russian invasion of Ukraine or of the international sporting community and the British government’s response to that invasion.”

He continued: “The ATP appears to view this matter as a direct violation of its rules, with a surprising lack of empathy for the situation in Ukraine and a clear lack of understanding of the unique circumstances facing the LTA. This fine, as that of the WTA, will have a material impact on the LTA’s ability to develop and host tennis in this country. We will carefully consider our response and await the outcome of our appeal against the WTA’s decision and sanction.”

All England would lift the ban

Michael Donelan, the British culture secretary, also criticized the sanctions imposed by the ATP and WTA, which he considered a “wrong decision”, and urged the bodies to “reconsider them”. At the same time, he ratified the position of that country’s government on excluding Russian and Belarusian athletes.

“We are clear that sport cannot be used to legitimize this deadly invasion and that athletes representing Russian or Belarusian states should be banned from competing in other countries,” he said in a statement.

But, despite this official position, in All England they are seriously considering the possibility of lifting the sanction by 2023, because they believe that the ban is no longer sustainable and “they fear that applying it for the second consecutive year will affect them for the future, if the war in Ukraine extends”, according to The Telegraph.

On the other hand, the fact that, throughout the season, no tournament saw demonstrations in favor of the war or the Putin regime, despite the constant presence of Russian and Belarusian players at the draws, reassures the English club.

It is that one of the reasons for the exclusion had been the fear that the Grand Slam picture would serve to make “propaganda” in favor of the Russian government, as happened with the gymnast Ivan Kuliak at the Doha Apparatus World Cup in March.

The sanctions and warnings from the WTA and ATP appear to have taken effect and, while there is no official confirmation yet, Wimbledon would open its doors to Russian and Belarusian tennis players again next year.

Source: Clarin

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