Former 18-time Grand Slam champion Martina Navratilova says he feels for the Ukrainian players and people but thinks Wimbledon's decision to ban Russian players from competing was wrong. On Wednesday, The New York Times reported Wimbledon decided to ban Russian and Belarusian players from competing at the tournament.
A few hours later, Wimbledon officially confirmed Russian and Belarusian won't be allowed to compete at The Championships this year. The ban means some of the world's biggest names such as Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev, Aryna Sabalenka and Victoria Azarenka won't play at Wimbledon.
“Exclusion is not the way to go,” Navratilova said. “And as much as I feel for the Ukrainian players and Ukrainian people, I think this is just going further than [the AELTC] needed to be going, quite frankly.
I think it’s the wrong decision. “It’s unfair to the whole world. There’s so much bad going on. I think this is not helpful. I understand the banning of teams, of course, but on an individual level, I just think it’s wrong”.
Novak Djokovic agrees with Navratilova
On the same day Wimbledon announced their decision, world No. 1 Djokovic gave his thoughts on their decision. "I will always be the first to condemn the war. As a child of war, I know what kind of emotional trauma a war leaves.
Us in Serbia, we know what was happening here in 1999, ordinary people always suffer, we've had a lot of wars in the Balkans. That being said, I cannot support the Wimbledon decision. It's not the athletes' fault.
When polititcs interfere with sports, it usually doesn't turn out well," Djokovic said. The ATP and WTA also released statements following Wimbledon's announcement. Both ATP and WTA made it clear they weren't happy with Wimbledon's decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players from competing at The All England Club.