Daniil Medvedev - Wimbledon 2019

Wimbledon and the LTA confirm they will accept Russian and Belarusian players in 2023

Wimbledon and LTA tournaments, including Queens, have confirmed that they have decided to reverse the decision from last year to ban Russian and Belarusian players due to the ongoing war in Ukraine.

Grand Slam champion’s including Daniil Medvedev and Aryna Sabalenka were two of the players that were prevented from playing at The Championships in 2022.

In a statement released by the All England Club, it was confirmed that players from Russia and Belarus would be able to compete at Wimbledon under certain stipulations.

As they have since the war began, players from the two countries will have to compete as neutral athletes, and additionally they will have to sign declarations stating that they are not funded or in support of the invasion of Ukraine.

“We continue to condemn totally Russia’s illegal invasion and our wholehearted support remains with the people of Ukraine. This was an incredibly difficult decision, not taken lightly or without a great deal of consideration for those who will be impacted,” said the chairman of the All England Club, Ian Hewitt.

He continued, “It is our view that, considering all factors, these are the most appropriate arrangements for The Championships for this year. We are thankful for the Government’s support as we and our fellow tennis stakeholder bodies have navigated this complex matter and agreed on conditions we believe are workable.”

“If circumstances change materially between now and the commencement of The Championships, we will consider and respond accordingly. They will be allowed back in the UK from the Surbiton event on June 4.”

The LTA also banned Russian and Belarusian players last year from all tournaments, but were fined by the ATP and WTA and have since had further action ‘imposed’ on them, which they have suggested led to the decision to make a U-turn.

An LTA statement said, “Our decision last year to ban Russian and Belarusian players from our tournaments led to significant penalties being imposed on us by both the ATP and WTA tours including the real prospect of the termination of our membership if we were to repeat the ban in 2023.”

“This would mean the cancellation of our professional tennis events at Queens, Eastbourne, Birmingham and Nottingham this year and indeed in the future. We have consistently opposed these sanctions and remain deeply disappointed by the penalties imposed on us.”

“The effect on British tennis of the LTA being expelled from the tours would be very damaging and far reaching for the game in our country. The impact would be felt by the millions of fans that follow the sport, the grass roots of the game, including coaches and venues which rely on the events for visibility and to bring new players into the game, and of course professional British players.”

What will this mean for Wimbledon ranking points?

As a result of the Wimbledon banning Russian and Belarusian player last year, the tournament was ‘punished’ by the ATP and WTA and had ranking points taken away from the event.

Therefore, singles champions Novak Djokovic and Elena Rybakina missed out on a precious 2000 ranking points, and their hard work did not necessarily reflect in their ranking position at the time.

However, with the announcement that players from those countries will not be banned this year it is expected that ranking points should be on offer.

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.