Former world number one tennis star Novak Djokovic has described Wimbledon’s ban on Russian and Belarusian players as “crazy,” saying politics shouldn’t interfere in sport.
As we highlighted yesterday, Wimbledon organizers confirmed that players from both countries would be barred from competing in the tournament even if they have vocally opposed the war in Ukraine.
Players had initially been expected to be given an opportunity to perform an act of ideological subservience by denouncing Russia in order to be able to take part, but now even this won’t be enough.
Serbian star Djokovic, who was deported earlier this year after attempting to take part in the Australian Open without having been vaccinated, condemned the announcement.
“I will always condemn war, I will never support war being myself a child of war,” he asserted, adding, “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,” said Djokovic.
Wimbledon organizers All England Lawn Tennis Club attempted to justify the ban by saying it would be “unacceptable for the Russian regime to derive any benefits from the involvement of Russian or Belarusian players with The Championships.”
However, both the ATP and the WTA slammed Wimbledon over the decision.