With the war currently ongoing in Ukraine, organisers of the French Open and Wimbledon have made different decisions regarding the participation of athletes from Russia and Belarus.
The Sporting News has all the latest on Roland-Garros’ stance toward competitors from Russia and Belarus compared to Wimbledon.
Will Russian and Belarusian players compete at the French Open 2022?
French Open organisers have decided not to follow Wimbledon and ban Russian and Belarusian competitors from the Grand Slam tournament.
However, tournament director Amelie Mauresmo made it clear that if any players show support to Russian leader Vladimir Putin that sanctions would follow.
“It’s very complicated, probably there is no fair decision to take,” Mauresmo said, as quoted by Tennis World USA.
“We keep the line of what all the European governments – and other governments – decided in March.
“National teams of Russia and Belarus banned, but not the athletes as individuals, as long as they play under strict neutrality. We will be very meticulous on that.
“If any of them should have pro-Putin statements in the media, there will be sanctions for sure.”
Why were Russian and Belarusian players banned from Wimbledon?
Due to Russia and Belarus’ involvement in the war in Ukraine, teams and athletes from the former two nations have been banned from participating in some sporting competitions or seen sanctions placed on their involvement.
Wimbledon’s organisers All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club have already officially announced they will be banning Russian and Belarusian players for June’s Grand Slam major.
It’s worth noting the ATP doesn’t support the decision by Wimbledon to exclude the Russians and Belarusians.
AELTC chairman Ian Hewitt said the decision was made because the organisation didn’t want Russia to use any success in their event for their own gain and also for the players and families safety.
“First, even if we were to accept entries (from Russian and Belarusian players) with written declarations, we would risk their success or participation being used to benefit the propaganda machine of the Russian regime, which we could not accept,” Hewitt said, as quoted by Tennis World USA.
“Second, we have a duty to ensure no actions should put players or their families at risk.
“We understand and deeply regret the impact this will have on all the people affected.
“We believe we have made the most responsible decision possible.
“We believe (given Government guidance) there is no viable alternative in this truly exceptional and tragic situation.”
Which Russian and Belarusian players are affected by Wimbledon’s ban?
Daniil Medvedev, who briefly took the No. 1 ranking mantle from Novak Djokovic earlier this year, and former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka would headline the top 50 men’s and women’s competitors excluded if Russian and Belarusian players are banned from the French Open.
World No. 8 Andrey Rublev, Karen Khachanov (No. 26) and Aslan Karatsev (No. 34) would be the other Russians booted out of the men’s draw, with Belarusian world No. 48 Ilya Ivashka also to be left out.
In the women’s draw, Azarenka would be joined on the outer by Belarusian compatriots Aryna Sabalenka (No. 5) and Aliaksandra Sasnovich (No. 50), while five Russian women Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (No. 15), Daria Kasatkina (No. 23), Veronika Kudermetova (No. 25), Ludmilla Samsonova (No. 26) and Ekaterina Alexandrova (No. 45) would also be excluded.
What tennis superstars have said about the banning of Russian and Belarusian players from Wimbledon
Current world no.1 Novak Djokovic has labelled Wimbledon’s decision to exclude Russian and Belarusian players as ‘crazy’.
“I will always condemn war; I will never support war being myself a child of war,” he told reporters in April.
“I know how much emotional trauma it leaves. In Serbia we all know what happened in 1999. In the Balkans, we have had many wars in recent history.
“However, I cannot support the decision of Wimbledon, I think it is crazy.
“When politics interferes with sport, the result is not good.”
Australian Open 2022 champion and 21-time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal:
“I think it’s very unfair to my Russian tennis mates, my colleagues,” he said during the Madrid Open.
“In that sense it’s not their fault what’s happening in this moment with the war.
“Let’s see what happens in the next weeks, if the players will take some kind of decision … there’s one thing that’s negative, there are things that are clear.
“When the government imposes some restrictions, you just have to follow them.”
British tennis legend and three-time major winner Andy Murray:
“I’m not supportive of players getting banned,” he said in early May. “The guidance from the government was not helpful.
“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). I don’t think there’s a right answer.
“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.”