WTA founder Billie Jean King explains why she does not support Wimbledon decision


WTA founder Billie Jean King explains why she does not support Wimbledon decision

Tennis legend and WTA founder Billie Jean King does not support the Wimbledon decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players from competing at this year's tournament. On Wednesday, Wimbledon announced bans for Russian and Belarusian tennis players.

Shortly after, the LTA announced Russian and Belarusian players won't be allowed to compete in any British events this grass season. “The decision of the LTA and AELTC regarding Russian and Belarusian players at this year’s tournament was a difficult and complex undertaking, and I appreciate the challenges and pressures they are facing," King said in a statetement.

“One of the guiding principles of the founding of the WTA was that any girl in the world if she was good enough, would have a place to compete. “I stood by that in 1973 and I stand by that today. I cannot support the banning of individual athletes from any tournament, simply because of their nationality.

“Tennis is stronger when we stand together, and our continued support of the Tennis Plays for Peace initiative, which provides meaningful financial support and resources to Ukraine, needs to be our focus”.

Martina Navratilova agrees with King

Another tennis legend said that banning Russian and Belarusian players was not the right thing to do.

“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”.

The Wimbledon decision means some of the biggest names on the WTA Tour won't be playing at The Championships this year. The list includes Aryna Sabalenka, Victoria Azarenka, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Daria Kasatkina.

Billie Jean King Wimbledon