Russian chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov criticized world No. 1 Novak Djokovic for supporting Russian athletes, saying the Serb should know better since he is a child of a war.
Last Wednesday, Wimbledon announced bans for Russian and Belarusian tennis players.
Djokovic, a 20-time Grand Slam champion, said he condemns the war but also added he can't understand how Russian athletes affect what is happening in Ukraine.
"Russia may play by ranking, but they kill by nationality. Russian athletes who do not condemn Putin’s war of extermination in Ukraine are supporting it with silence. And a Serb failing to do so is especially inappropriate, considering history," Kasparov tweeted.
Russia may play by ranking, but they kill by nationality. Russian athletes who do not condemn Putin’s war of extermination in Ukraine are supporting it with silence. And a Serb failing to do so is especially inappropriate, considering history. https://t.co/jhdxFdzpBl
— Garry Kasparov (@Kasparov63) April 25, 2022
Djokovic on the Wimbledon decision
"I don't support that, I grew up with sanctions, I know how it feels when the world sees you differently, because a bad image has been created," Djokovic said. "I was a victim of that, as were many Serbs. I am a child of war, I know what it is like to lose close people, some still suffer because of all that. I will be against it forever.
"Politics exists in sports, you have political structures in the organization. I am talking about higher instances of interfering politics. I stand behind what I said. There is no need to suspend any athlete, not just a tennis player. I don't see how they affect the war. We have a rule in tennis on the prohibition of discrimination, which speaks of the rule of ranking non-nationality. Wimbledon violated that, the ATP spoke out."
The Wimbledon decision means some of the biggest names of the game won't compete at The All England Club this year.
On the men's side, Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev, Karen Khachanov and Aslan Karatsev are all set to miss on The Championships.
Also, Aryna Sabalenka, Victoria Azarenka, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Daria Kasatkina won't be competing in the women's event.
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