Ian Hewitt Explains Why Russian And Belarusian Players Were Banned From Wimbledon

Tennis: Wimbledon
Jul 11, 2021; London, United Kingdom; Novak Djokovic (SRB) holds the trophy after beating Matteo Berrettini (ITA) in the men s final on Centre Court at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. Mandatory Credit: Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports

The decision by the ATP and WTA to deprive Wimbledon of ranking points left All England Club chairman Ian Hewitt “very disappointed.” Hewitt said that the championships were left with “no other viable” option than excluding players from Russia and Belarus from playing this year.

Hewitt also told the media that the decision was prompted by a desire to avoid the Championships from being exploited to advance Russia’s political agenda.

Wimbledon organizers took the decision to prohibit players from Russia and Belarus in response to Russia’s illegal invasion in February.

The ATP and WTA, in response to the All England Club’s decision, deducted ranking points from Wimbledon, claiming that the removal of players “undermined” the tour’s legitimacy.

After government officials swayed Wimbledon into making this decision, Hewitt told ESPN they were stuck with two options, or routes, as he calls them. “One was a route to consider having personal declarations from players and, frankly, we did not think that was the right approach for a tournament of our kind. We were not willing to put in jeopardy any safety of players, and we think that that route would have involved implications for players’ safety or safety of their families, which really left no other viable alternative.”

ESPN has more here.

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