Andy Murray ‘doesn’t support’ Wimbledon ban for Russian players


Andy Murray “does not” support the government’s plan to ban Russian and Belarusian players from playing the game. Wimbledon but added there was no “right answer” to the difficult situation.

Wimbledon officials reiterated their position last week and said an order from the government regarding the invasion of Ukraine had left them with no viable alternative but to refuse entry to players from both countries.

Murray, who is donating all of his prize money to humanitarian aid in Ukraine this season, said the government’s guidance was “unhelpful” and could potentially put players’ families at risk.

“I’m not in favor of players being suspended,” the former world number one told reporters in Spain ahead of his first-round match against Dominic Thiem at the Madrid Open.

“My understanding of the instructions was that Russians and Belarusians can play if they sign a declaration that they are against the war and against the Russian regime. I’m not sure how comfortable I would feel if anything were to happen to any of the players or their families (as a result).

“I don’t think there is a right answer.

“I spoke to some Russian players. I spoke to some Ukrainian players. I really feel sorry for the players who are not allowed to play and I understand that it will seem unfair to them.

“But I also know some of the people who work at Wimbledon and I know what a difficult position they were in.

“I feel for everyone, feel for the players who can’t play and I don’t support one side or the other.”

There was some support for Wimbledon’s position, particularly from Ukrainians in tennis, but the reaction was largely negative as both the ATP and WTA decided whether to impose penalties.

Rafael NadalHe, who has won two of his 21 Grand Slam singles titles at Wimbledon, called the ban “very unfair”.

Ahead of his return to the Spanish capital, Nadal told reporters: “I find it very unfair (towards) my Russian tennis peers, my peers. It is not their fault what is happening to the war at this moment.”

Andy Murray said government guidance to Russian and Belarusian players could put their families at risk (Steven Paston/PA)

(PA wire)

The words of the 21-time Grand Slam champion were not appreciated by former Ukrainian top 50 player Sergiy Stakhovsky, who returned to his country after the invasion to join the reserve forces.

Stakhovsky wrote on Twitter: “We competed together…we played each other on tour. Please tell me how fair it is that Ukrainian players cannot return home? How fair is it that Ukrainian kids can’t play tennis? How is it fair that Ukrainians die?”

Action against Wimbledon and the previous Lawn Tennis Association lawn tournaments could include the removal of ranking points.

Nadal, who is a member of the ATP Player Council, added: “The 2,000 points when we go to the Grand Slams are really important and we have to go to those tournaments. So we have to see what actions we take.

“At the end of the day, what happens in our game doesn’t matter when we see so many people dying and suffering and seeing the bad situation they have in Ukraine.”

world number one Novak Djokovic Reaffirmed his opposition to the ban, saying: “I still stand by my position that I do not support the decision. I guess it’s just not fair, it’s not right, but it is what it is.

“They have the right to make the decision and now it’s probably the players’ council, the tour management, to really decide together with the players what’s the best solution in this situation, whether they keep the points, protect the points, take away 50 percent of the points, or whatever.

“I really doubt there will be no points. Probably the more realistic option is to protect the points from the Russian and Belarusian players who aren’t playing.” Andy Murray ‘doesn’t support’ Wimbledon ban for Russian players


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