Wimbledon will open its doors to Russian and Belarusian tennis players. Ian Hewitt, recounted how difficult it was to make this decision, weighed over time: "We continue to totally condemn the illegal invasion of Russia and our full support remains with the Ukrainian people.
This has been an incredibly difficult decision, not one taken lightly or without great consideration to those who will be affected. It is our opinion that, considering all factors, these are the most appropriate deals for this year's tournament.
We are grateful for the government's support as we and our fellow tennis stakeholder bodies have addressed this complex issue and agreed terms we believe are achievable. Should circumstances change materially between now and the start of the Championships, we will consider and respond accordingly." The long-awaited decision on the participation of Russian and Belarusian tennis players in the next edition of Wimbledon 2023 has therefore arrived.
The oldest tournament in the world will once again open its doors to athletes of these nationalities, but only under certain conditions, they specify, through a press release. They wrote: "Our current intention is to accept entries from Russian and Belarusian players, provided they compete as neutral athletes and meet the appropriate conditions.
These will prohibit expressions of support for the Russian invasion in various forms and will ban the entry of players receiving funding from Russian and/or Belarusian states. The conditions have been carefully developed through constructive dialogue with the UK Government, the LTA and international tennis stakeholder bodies and are in line with government published guidelines for sporting bodies in the UK.
The player personal statement option was not feasible in our view last year. Since then, extensive engagement with government and tennis stakeholder bodies has clarified and developed the form of the declarations and produced workable measures for their implementation and enforcement.
This approach has the full backing of the government and the LTA, ATP, WTA and ITF. There has been a strong and very disappointing reaction from some tennis governing bodies to the stance taken by the All England Club and LTA last year with consequences which, if continued, would have been detrimental to the interests of players, fans, The Championships and British tennis.
Tennis events outside the UK experienced a year of competition with players from Russia and Belarus competing as neutral athletes. We also believe alignment between Grand Slams is increasingly important in today's tennis environment."