Players of Russian and Belarusian nationality will be allowed to compete in the Wimbledon Championships this July, but must enter as ‘neutral' athletes, the All England Club announced in a statement on Friday morning.
“Our current intention is to accept entries from Russian and Belarusian players subject to them competing as ‘neutral' athletes and complying with appropriate conditions,” the statement read.
“These will prohibit expressions of support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in various forms and prohibit entry by players receiving funding from the Russian and/or Belarusian states (including sponsorship from companies operated or controlled by the states) in relation to their participation in The Championships.”
The All England Club continued to say the conditions were developed through “constructive dialogue” with the UK Government, the LTA and international stakeholder bodies in tennis, which are aligned with the Government's published guidance to sporting bodies in the UK.
“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 Ian Hewitt, the Chairman of the All England Club.
“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.”
Although tennis events outside of the United Kingdom allowed players from Russia and Belarus to compete under a neutral flag, Wimbledon banned all players from the two countries last year after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Russians Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev are both ranked in the ATP top-10 at No. 5 and No. 6, respectively, while Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka is ranked No. 2 on the WTA Tour; Russian Daria Kasatkina is ranked 8th.
Novak Djokovic has won Wimbledon the last four straight years, defeating Nick Kyrgios in four sets in 2022.