Djokovic strongly criticizes the exclusion of Russian professionals from Wimbledon

Grand Slam Tournament
Djokovic strongly criticizes the exclusion of Russian professionals from Wimbledon

Novak Djokovic at a Serbia Open press conference in Belgrade: “When politics interferes in the sport, the result is not good.”

© Andrej Isakovic / AFP

The world number one in tennis, Novak Djokovic, does not think the exclusion of Russian and Belarusian professionals from Wimbledon is a good idea. He fundamentally condemns wars, but such measures are “crazy”.

The number one in world tennis is currently playing her home tournament in Belgrade, the Serbia Open. It’s going a little better than last time. Novak Djokovic fought his way to the quarterfinals against compatriot Laslo Dere. At the tournament in Monte Carlo he had previously failed in the opening match and had shown himself to be completely out of shape. The Serb is now struggling with another story that doesn’t affect him at all: The Wimbledon organizers announced that Russian and Belarusian professionals will be excluded from the oldest tournament in the world because of the war in Ukraine.

Djokovic criticized the decision and simply called it “crazy”. Tennis professionals or athletes in general have nothing to do with the war, said Djokovic. “When politics interferes with sport, the result is not good.” In view of the wars in the Balkans, the 34-year-old recalled that he himself was a war child. Djokovic emphasized that he was the first to condemn wars, also with a view to the suffering of the civilian population.

Professional associations ATP and WTA criticize exclusion

The professional associations ATP and WTA also criticized the exclusion. “Discrimination on the basis of nationality is a violation of our agreement with Wimbledon that players’ participation is based solely on the ATP rankings,” the association said. It will now be discussed what consequences will follow. The WTA also announced this and said that they were “very disappointed”.

Wimbledon organizers conceded it was hard for those affected to suffer at the hands of the Russian leadership. And the tournament is also suffering: Affected by the exclusion are Daniil Medvedev, second in the world rankings, and Aryna Sabalenka from Belarus, who was only eliminated in the semi-finals in Wimbledon last year. Andrei Rublev, Karen Khachanov and Arslan Karazew from the top 30 are missing among the men. Six players among the top 40 are affected.

Wimbledon is the first tennis event to take this step. Other sports have already excluded athletes from Russia and Belarus from their events in recent weeks.


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