Madrid – Rafael Nadal And Novak Djokovic He criticized Wimbledon’s decision to exclude Russian and Belarusian players from this year’s tournament following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The two tennis players on Sunday said Wimbledon had acted unfairly, with Nadal saying the decision was “unfair” to his Russian teammates.
“It is not their fault what is happening in this moment of war,” said Nadal, a 21-times winner of the Grand Slam in Spain, as he and Djokovic prepare to play in the Madrid Open.
“I’m sorry for them,” Nadal said. “Wimbledon just made its decision…the government didn’t force them to do it.”
“Let’s see what happens in the coming weeks, if the players will make some kind of decision in this regard,” Nadal added.
The ATP and WTA tennis tours have publicly criticized the All England Club’s decision, which was announced on April 20.
Wimbledon begins on June 27.
One of the most prominent players affected by the ban is the US Open champion Daniel MedvedevAnd Andrey Rublev Runner-up of the French Open Anastasia PavlyuchenkovaAll of them are from Russia. Arina Sabalenka And Victoria Azarenka Belarus, which helped the Russian troops, will not be able to play.
Djokovic likened the situation of the excluded players to what he experienced in January, when he was unable to compete at the Australian Open. He was deported from Australia for not being vaccinated against COVID-19.
“It’s not the same, but I went through something similar earlier this year myself, it’s frustrating to know that you are not able to play,” Djokovic said. “I still stick to my position, which I do not support [Wimbledon] resolution. I think it’s not fair, it’s not right, but it is what it is.”
The All England Club defended his action in a statement first published on Twitter.
“In conditions of such unjustified and unprecedented military aggression, it would be unacceptable for the Russian regime to take advantage of the participation of Russian or Belarusian players in tournaments,” the statement said.
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