Novak Djokovic is not a fan of Wimbledon banning Russian and Belarusian tennis players from the 2022 tournament.
The former world number one spoke to reporters on Wednesday following his win at the Serbian Open, calling the decision by the All England Club “crazy.”
“I know how much emotional trauma [war] leaves,” Djokovic said. “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,” he continued.
On Wednesday, Wimbledon — one of the four tennis majors and the most prestigious tournament in the world — announced the ban of Russian and Belarusian players from June’s tournament.
“In the circumstances of such unjustified and unprecedented military aggression, it would be unacceptable for the Russian regime to derive any benefits from the involvement of Russian or Belarusian players with The Championships,” the All England Club said in a statement.
“It is therefore our intention, with deep regret, to decline entries from Russian and Belarusian players to The Championships 2022,” the statement continued.
Since Russia’s February invasion of Ukraine, the tennis world has allowed Russian and Belarusian tennis players to compete, just not under their respective countries’ flags. The ban means that five Russian women in the WTA top-40 will not be allowed to compete, as will men’s No. 2 overall player Daniil Medvedev.
The Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP), criticized the decision by Wimbledon on Wednesday, calling the ban of players from Russia and Belarus “discrimination.”
“Discrimination based on nationality also constitutes a violation of our agreement with Wimbledon that states that player entry is based solely on ATP Rankings,” the men’s governing body said. “Any course of action in response to this decision will now be assessed in consultation with our board and member councils.”
The Women’s Tennis Association, who previously said that tennis professionals from Russia and Belarus should not be banned from competing, reiterated their stance on Wednesday.
“Individual athletes should not be penalized or prevented from competing due to where they are from, or the decisions made by the governments of their countries,” the WTA said. “Discrimination, and the decision to focus such discrimination against athletes competing on their own as individuals, is neither fair nor justified,” the body added.
The 2022 Wimbledon tournament is set to begin on June 27.
Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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