Wimbledon will bar Russian and Belarusian players from this year’s competition due to the Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Belarus’ support of the invasion, according to multiple reports.
Sportico first reported the Russian ban, and the New York Times later added that Belarusians would also be barred from competing, with a “highly placed international tennis official” confirming the news.
Russians and Belarusians already have been banned from team events like the Davis Cup and Billie Jean King Cup, both of which were won in 2021 by Russian teams, in a collective announcement on March 1. So far, though, individual players have been allowed to compete under a neutral flag.
The Wimbledon ban would make the tournament the first tennis event to restrict the individual athletes from competing. Wimbledon is scheduled to begin in late June.
Among those affected would be Belarusian player Aryna Sabalenka, who is currently ranked No. 4 in the world and was a semifinalist at Wimbledon last year. Her compatriot Victoria Azarenka is currently ranked No. 18 in the world and last made the semifinals at Wimbledon in 2012.
The Russians currently have five women in the top 40 of the world rankings, led by No. 15 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
Russian and Belarusian players have not been barred from the French Open, which begins May 22.