A few weeks ago, Wimbledon announced that they won’t be allowing Russian and Belarussian athletes to compete in the 2022 Championships because of the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine. Wimbledon also became the first and the only tennis tournament so far to impose an outright ban on the players.
The decision wasn’t well-received by many contemporary players as they argued that banning players, who don’t support the invasion, is very unfair. Even top players like Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have also expressed their disappointment with the ruling. Both Djokovic and Nadal have termed the situation as unfair and Nadal even said that the player’s council will take any possible measures if needed.
While Federer is yet to comment on the issue, he along with Nadal sit on the ATP Player Council, and hence their stand isn’t well taken by politicians in the UK who think that the two players are undermining the global response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Speaking to Telegraph Sport, Chris Bryant MP, the chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Russia said that Federer and Nadal should come clean and questioned whether they want Russian ruler Vladimir Putin to fail or they simply don’t care?
“Federer and Nadal should come clean,” Bryant said. “Do they want Vladimir Putin to fail or don’t they care? The men’s tour are behaving appallingly. It’s like they haven’t heard what is happening in Ukraine or don’t care.”
Clive Efford, MP, urges ATP to see things outside its bubble
The ban means that many top Russian and Belarussian players including Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev, and Aryna Sabalenka will miss the mega tournament. Clive Efford MP, a leading member of the Digital, Culture, Media & Sport select committee and a former shadow sports minister said that the ATP needs to burst the bubble they have created and see the amount of support Wimbledon’s ruling is getting.
He said: “The ATP needs to take a look around and appreciate how the rest of the world outside its bubble will view it for sanctioning Wimbledon for supporting Ukraine. [The] only thing we can do is be in touch with Wimbledon and the rest of the ATP management to do the things that work better to protect every single player in the ATP.”