World No. 1 Novak Djokovic thought banning Russian and Belarusian players from competing at Wimbledon was unecessary and he added Wimbledon broke certain tennis rules by not allowing Russian and Belarusian players to compete at The Championships this year.
Earlier this week, The New York Times reported a tennis authority with the knowledge of the situation told them Wimbledon had decided to ban Russian and Belarusian players from the tournament.
On Wednesday, Wimbledon confirmed the report as they announced a ban for Russian and Belarusian players.
"I personally believe there's no need to suspend Russian players. Competing is their right: there's a rule against discrimination in tennis, which states that everyone can play according to his ranking and not his nationality. Wimbledon has violated it," Djokovic said, per Mario Boccardi.
Novak #Djokovic: "I personally believe there's no need to suspend Russian players. Competing is their right: there's a rule against discrimination in tennis, which states that everyone can play according to his ranking and not his nationality. Wimbledon has violated it" pic.twitter.com/DjztDeOIFu
— Mario Boccardi (@marioboc17) April 23, 2022
#Djokovic: I stand by what I said, there is no need for athletes to be banned. We have rules against discrimination in tennis. We play based on rankings, not nationality. I support the statements of ATP and PTPA.
— Saša Ozmo (@ozmo_sasa) April 23, 2022
Djokovic made it clear he does not support Wimbledon
On the same day Wimbledon made their announcement, Djokovic beat Laslo Djere in his Belgrade opener.
After the match, Djokovic was asked to give his thoughts on the Wimbledon decision.
Djokovic started by saying he strongly condemns the war, before acknowledging that he is a war child and that he can't support someone not being allowed to play just because of their nationality.
"I will always be the first to condemn the war. As a child of war, I know what kind of emotional trauma a war leaves. Us in Serbia, we know what was happening here in 1999, ordinary people always suffer, we've had a lot of wars in the Balkans. That being said, I cannot support the Wimbledon decision. It's not the athletes' fault. When polititcs interfere with sports, it usually doesn't turn out well," Djokovic said.
The Wimbledon decision means some of the world's biggest names are set to miss The Championships.
Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev, Karen Khachanov, Aryna Sabalenka and Victoria Azarenka are just some of the names that won't be playing at Wimbledon this year.
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