London, April 21: The Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) and the Women’s Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) have called the Wimbledon and Lawn Tennis Association’s move to ban Russian and Belarusian players to compete in the grass court event “unfair” and “disappointing”. The decision will effect a number of highly ranked players including the world No. 2 Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova from Russia and former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka and fourth ranked Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus. ATP, which governs the men’s tennis, said: “We believe that unilateral decision by Wimbledon and the LTA to exclude players from Russia and Belarus from this year’s British grass-court swing is unfair and has the potential to set a damaging precedent for the game. “Discrimination based on nationality also constitutes a violation of our agreement with Wimbledon that states that player’s entry is based solely on ATP rankings.
Any course of action in response to this decision will now be assessed in consultation. With our board and member councils”. WTA in a statement said: “Very disappointed in announcement by the AELTC. And the LTA to ban individual athletes who are from Russia. And Belarus from competing in the upcoming UK grass court events. “A fundamental principal of the WTA is that individual athletes may participate. In professional tennis events based on merit and without any form of discrimination. That principle is expressly set forth in our rules and has been agreed to by both AELTC and LTA. Prohibitions against discrimination are also clearly expressed in their own rules and the Grand Slam rules.” Wimbledon on Wednesday announced to decline entries from Russian and Belarusian players for the Grand Slam tournament as result of invasion of Ukraine. The major tournament is scheduled to begin from July 27.