Despite the ongoing war in Ukraine, Wimbledon will allow Russian players to compete in this year’s tournament.
Tennis players from Russia and Belarus will compete under a neutral flag at this summer’s tournament from July 3-16. They were banned in 2022 due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
But Russian players aren’t exactly getting free reign to play politics at Wimbledon this summer. The players “will not be allowed to express support for the invasion,” wrote the Washington Post.
“Any player who receives funding from the Russian or Belarusian governments, including sponsorships from state-controlled companies, will not be allowed to play.”
Russian players are allowed to compete in tennis’ other Grand Slam events as neutral athletes.
Despite the decision, Ian Hewitt, chairman of the All England Club, still condemns Russia’s “illegal” invasion.
“This was an incredibly difficult decision, not taken lightly or without a great deal of consideration for those who will be impacted,” he said. “It is our view that, considering all factors, these are the most appropriate arrangements for The Championships for this year.”
The ban prevented stars such as Daniil Medvedev of Russia and Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus from playing last year. This latest decision was condemned by both Russia and the Association of Tennis Professionals, according to the Post.
Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022. The U.K. has condemned the “Russian government’s unprovoked and premeditated war against Ukraine.”