Ian Hewitt: "That's why we excluded Russian and Belarusian tennis players"

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Ian Hewitt: "That's why we excluded Russian and Belarusian tennis players"

The organizers of the Wimbledon tournament, following the hard line taken by the British government, have decided to exclude Russian and Belarusian tennis players from the third Grand Slam of the year. The choice made by the Championships met with firm opposition from the ATP and the WTA, who condemned the severe provision through two long communiqués.

In recent days, moreover, there has been talk of some sanctions that the Association of Tennis Professionals could impose to punish Wimbledon. From a heavy fine to the loss of points: there are numerous hypotheses that the top tennis players would be evaluating in these hours.

Wimbledon President: "Inevitable Choice"

In an official press conference, All England Club president Ian Hewitt wanted to explain the main reasons that pushed the direction of the tournament in this direction.

"Now I would like to address the issue that is at the center of our attention, namely the desire to deny participation in Wimbledon to Russian and Belarusian athletes. After a long and careful consideration, we have come to two conclusions on which our decisions are based.

Even if we accepted the participation of Russians and Belarusians with written declarations, we would risk their successful participation being used as propaganda by the Russian regime. Which we could not accept. We also need to ensure that our every action does not put the players or their families at risk.

Following the directives of the Government, there is no valid alternative to the decision taken in this tragic and particular circumstance." Wimbledon may not be the only tournament to opt for the exclusion of Russian and Belarusian tennis players.

In fact, the Italian government also intends to ban Russians and Belarusians from the next edition of the Italian Open 2022. "We will coordinate with all our allies. At this moment it is essential to demonstrate the unity of the European Union, which condemns the Russian invasion of Ukraine," said Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio.

"The sanctions and isolation of Russia are the only peaceful means to stop this war and bring Putin to the negotiating table. This is the work we are doing at the international level. The unity of Europe is important. We must carry on a single line "