British tennis officials are set to remove the controversial ban on Russian and Belarusian players ahead of the 2023 Wimbledon championships as per reports. After Russia's invasion of Ukraine in 2022, the UK's Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) was pressured by the British government to impose a ban on athletes from these countries.
Russian and Belarusian players were prohibited from all of LTA’s ATP tournaments including the Queen's Club event in London. The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC), organisers of Wimbledon, also imposed a similar suspension. But as per Daily Telegraph reported Friday: "All expectations suggest that the AELTC will lower the ban on Russians and Belarusians".
However, the reports have further stated that players from those countries may need to sign a declaration promising they will not "promote or glorify" Vladimir Putin's efforts during the tournament.
Jon Wertheim, of Sports Illustrated magazine, tweeted: "Hearing that @Wimbledon and the LTA will NOT repeat last year's decision to prohibit the Russians/Belarusians from competing."
An AELTC spokeswoman was quoted by AFP regarding the ban and spoke about the ongoing discussion with the British government. She said, "We are continuing to work very closely with the UK Government and key stakeholders in tennis on this matter."
The ATP responded to the ban after slamming British tennis with a $1 million fine, which was divided between the LTA and AELTC. The LTA had to put in a $750,000 punishment for the LTA and while the remaining $250,000 were paid by the AELTC.
Both the ATP and the Women's Tennis Association further stripped Wimbledon of its ranking points. After the whole controversy, the women's singles title was won by Russian-born Elena Rybakina. Unlike Wimbledon, the other three Grand Slams didn’t opt for such bans although they are prevented from competing under the name or flag of their countries.
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