LTA chief executive Scott Lloyd has confirmed that Boris Johnson and the UK government remain locked in talks over whether or not to ban Daniil Medvedev and other Russian athletes from playing at Wimbledon later this year. Recent speculation has claimed that several big-name players, including the likes of Medvedev and Andrey Rublev, could be prevented from taking part in this year’s tournament at the All England Club amid Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
A number of Russian and Belarusian athletes in other sports have been banned from competing in their respective disciplines over the last few months as a result of the military situation in eastern Europe. Lloyd has since confirmed that a decision is yet to be made over whether or not Wimbledon will eventually follow suit, with talks ongoing between the UK government and the relevant organisations in order to find a solution.
“It is an enormously complex situation,” Lloyd told reporters in Prague. “I think we are all aligned in finding the actions that we see in our papers and TV screens absolutely abhorrent.
“We are in very close dialogue with the All England Club, the Government, with the tours. We are very conscious of public sentiment in this area. We are trying to navigate what that needs to look like in the summer events in Britain this year.”
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Russian and Belarusian athletes have so far been permitted to keep playing in ATP, WTA and ITF tournaments under a neutral flag and with no anthem played. However, it remains to be seen whether they will eventually be banned from competing at Wimbledon ahead of this year’s tournament, which is set to get underway in June.
The UK government has made no secret of its support for Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression by sending weapons and speaking out against the invasion on a number of occasions over the last few months. Sports minister Nigel Huddleston recently suggested that Medvedev and Rublev will likely be prevented from playing at Wimbledon unless the relevant parties can be convinced that the pair do not support Putin’s actions.
“We are talking to various sports about this and what the response should be there,” Huddleston told the Department for Culture, Media and Sport committee last month. “Absolutely, nobody flying the flag for Russia should be allowed or enabled.
“But I think it needs to go beyond that, I think we need to have some assurance that they are not supporters of Vladimir Putin and we are considering what requirements we may need to get assurances along those lines. In short, would I be comfortable with a Russian athlete flying the flag of Russia? No.”
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