Rafael Nadal has branded Wimbledon’s decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players from this year’s tournament as ‘very unfair’.
The AELTC, which organises the Grand Slam, and the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), announced in April that Russian and Belarusian players will not be allowed to play in the UK this summer following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The decision means the likes of Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev, Aryna Sabalenka and Victoria Azarenka will all miss out the Grand Slam this year.
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Speaking ahead of the Madrid Open, Nadal said he understands the reason being the ban but sympathises with the players.
“I think it’s very unfair of my Russia tennis mates, my colleagues,” he said. “In that sense it’s not their fault what’s happening in this moment with the war.
“I don’t know what to say. I’m sorry for them. I wish it was not this way, but at the end of the day we know that this is what we have.
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“From there onwards we will see what happens. Let’s see what happens in the next weeks, if the players will take some kind of decision in the regard.”
Nadal believes that the decision from Wimbledon organisers was ‘drastic’ and that they weren’t obliged to ban players for the tournament.
“When the government imposes some restrictions, you just have to follow them,” he added.
“In that case, the government gave a recommendation, and Wimbledon just took their decision, the more drastic position they could take without taking into account – the government didn’t force them to do it.”
“At the end of the day, what happens in our game, it doesn’t have any importance when we can see so many people dying and suffering.”
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