Concerns over the prospect of Russian tennis player Daniil Medvedev winning Wimbledon – one of sport’s most iconic tournaments – with members of the Royal family in attendance on Centre Court was one of the key reasons that the nation’s players were banned from competing.
Wimbledon announced on Wednesday that they have banned all players from Russia and Belarus from this summer’s Championships in light of the ongoing atrocities in Ukraine.
Medvedev, the World No 2 and reigning US Open champion, was among the favourites to win Wimbledon this summer.
But organisers will have been mindful of the genuine possibility that, come finals weekend, there would be pictures beamed around the world of someone from Russia or Belarus holding a trophy aloft on the Centre Court – at what is the centenary of the famous arena.
The All England Club’s main committee appear to have opted for a prompt decision as the war enters a new phase, with hopes of peace talks receding.
The move has been made ahead of the tournament’s scheduled annual press conference next week, where the subject was bound to arise. The WTA and ATP Tours have been informed that a fair smattering of its top players will be barred from SW19.
Sources high up in the game had confirmed to Sportsmail that the measures are imminent, with Medvedev the highest profile player to be affected.
Both Russia and Belarus will be covered by the suspension, which means that women’s world No 4 Aryna Sabalenka is also out.