Andy Murray ‘not supportive’ of Wimbledon ban on Russian and Belarusian players | UK News


Andy Murray is “not supportive” of the ban on Russian and Belarusian players from competing in Wimbledon, but says there is no “right answer” on the difficult situation.

Speaking to journalists at the Madrid Open, the three-time grand slam winner said the guidance from the government “was not helpful” and could potentially put the families of players at risk.

“I’m not supportive of players getting banned,” Murray said.

“My understanding of the guidance was that Russians and Belarusians can play if they sign a declaration that they’re against the war and against the Russian regime.

“I’m not sure how comfortable I would feel if something happened to one of the players or their families (as a result).”

The Scottish player who is is donating all of his prize money this season to humanitarian relief in Ukraine spoke out about the decision ahead of his opening match against 2020 US Open champion Dominic Thiem.

“I don’t think there’s a right answer,” Murray said.

“I have spoken to some of the Russian players. I’ve spoken to some of the Ukrainian players. I feel really bad for the players who aren’t allowed to play and I get that it will seem unfair to them. But I also know some of the people who work at Wimbledon, and I know how difficult a position they were in.

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

Murray’s comments come after the All England Club, which holds the tournament in southwest London every summer, made the announcement on 20 April to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes from competing in the tournament.

Russian Daniil Medvedev and Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka. Pics: AP
Russian Daniil Medvedev (L) and Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka (R) are affected by the ban. Pics: AP

The ban rules out players including men’s world number two Daniil Medvedev and women’s world number four Aryna Sabalenka from featuring in the grass court Grand Slam.

On Sunday, Rafael Nadal similarly branded the Wimbledon ban “very unfair”, adding: “My Russian tennis mates, my colleagues. It’s not their fault what’s happening in this moment with the war.”

Wimbledon officials reiterated their position last week, saying that a directive from the government regarding the invasion of Ukraine had left them with no viable alternative but to refuse entries from players from the two countries.

Spain's Rafael Nadal hits a backhand during a practice session on Rod Laver Arena ahead of the Australian Open at Melbourne Pack, Australia, Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022.  (AP Photo/Mark Baker)
Rafael Nadal says the Wimbledon ban is ‘very unfair’

There has been some support for Wimbledon’s position, especially from Ukrainians within tennis, but the reaction has been largely negative, with the ATP and WTA , the governing bodies of the men’s and women’s professional tennis circuits, both deciding whether to impose penalties.

Action against Wimbledon and the preceding grass-court tournaments run by the Lawn Tennis Association could include the removal of ranking points.

Nadal, who is a member of the ATP Player Council, added: “The 2,000 points, whenever we go to the grand slams, they are really important and we have to go to those tournaments. So we will have to see the measures that we take.

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


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