The decision taken by the Wimbledon organizers, who have excluded Russian and Belarusian tennis players from the third Grand Slam of the year, is causing a lot of discussion. Adriano Panatta, in an interview with the newspaper la Repubblica, did not mince words and attacked the position taken by the Championships.
"A bad thing, a lot. Absurd. Russian tennis players are people, they are not a nation. Moreover, they also disagreed on the war. They are people who do a job. I can still understand an Olympic context, the Davis Cup, the world championships.
That is, a context where the nation is represented, but this? The problems of war are not resolved, horrible and I say it and I repeat it, horrible. They hit Rublev who wrote peace on the camera after playing. Wimbledon."
Panatta: "It's a form of racism"
On the occasion of the presentation of the new Sky Original docuseries Una Squadra, Panatta returned to talk about the next edition of Wimbledon recalling the famous red shirt worn in Chile in 1976.
“Today at the Foro Italico I would play with the Ukrainian shirt. It's a shame they can't play. Vetoes are vetoed, but then relations with Russia continue. This was what happened between Italy and Chile also in 1976.
It is a form of racism ," said Panatta in the words reported by Sky Sport. He then added: " If I go to Paris I am an Italian in France, I certainly do not represent Italy. Excluding Russian and Belarusian tennis players from Wimbledon is a big mistake that penalizes twenty players between men and women and the hypothesis of extending the decision also to the Internazionali d'Italia is a fool.
I don't think there is time to decide to oust Russian and Belarusian tennis players from Rome. The IOC has so far recommended this path to the federations to sanction Putin's Russia, but now more than indicating it should decide.
Before Rome starts next Monday the tournament in Madrid should have the same problem, let's see what will happen in Spain."