Novak Djokovic has branded Wimbledon's decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players from competing at the Grand Slam as "crazy".
The All England Club announced the controversial decision on Wednesday as a response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, meaning world No. 2 Daniil Medvedev and world No.5 Aryna Sabalenka will not take part in the tournament.
Wimbledon is the first tennis tournament to ban individual athletes from the two countries and is the first time players have been banned due to their nationality since the immediate post-World War Two era when German and Japanese players were excluded. The ATP and WTA have condemned the All England Club for their position.
Roland-Garros
'What a performance, what a player' - Medvedev reaches fourth round in style
29 MINUTES AGO
The world No. 1, who beat Laslo Djere in three sets in his opening match at the Serbian Open on Wednesday, says he cannot support Wimbledon's exclusion of Russian and Belarusian athletes.
"I will always condemn war, I will never support war being myself a child of war," the 20-time Grand Slam winner, who has won six Wimbledon titles, told reporters at the ATP 250 tournament.
"I know how much emotional trauma it leaves. In Serbia we all know what happened in 1999. In the Balkans we have had many wars in recent history.
"However, I cannot support the decision of Wimbledon, I think it is crazy. When politics interferes with sport, the result is not good."
The All England Club said in their statement: "It would be unacceptable for the Russian regime to derive any benefits from the involvement of Russian or Belarusian players with The Championships.
"It is therefore our intention, with deep regret, to decline entries from Russian and Belarusian players to The Championships 2022.
"If circumstances change materially between now and June, we will consider and respond accordingly."
Ian Hewitt, Chairman of the All England Club, added “We recognise that this is hard on the individuals affected, and it is with sadness that they will suffer for the actions of the leaders of the Russian regime."
Wimbledon is set to get underway on June 27 with the final on July 10.
- - -
Stream the 2022 French Open live and on-demand on discovery+
Roland-Garros
Medvedev races past Kecmanovic to reach fourth round with ease
AN HOUR AGO
Roland-Garros
Medvedev tells crowd to calm down after they boo him challenging call
2 HOURS AGO