According to recent reports, the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) and the All England Club are planning to lift the ban on players from Russia and Belarus ahead of Wimbledon 2023 and UK tournaments leading up to the Grand Slam.
The ban was initially enacted after Russia invaded Ukraine last year with material support from Belarus, and the British government pressured the LTA and All England Club to take action.
The ban on Russian and Belarusian players resulted in the ATP and Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) not awarding ranking points at tournaments in the country and imposing hefty fines.
This year, there is a financial incentive to abandon the restrictions, as the fines will be halved if the bans are not repeated.
The plan to lift the ban on players from Russia and Belarus includes a condition that players must sign a declaration testifying that they will not promote or glorify Vladimir Putin’s political decisions during tournaments.
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While there has been no official announcement from the LTA or All England Club, a report in the Daily Telegraph suggests that the ban will likely be lifted ahead of Wimbledon 2023.
Sports Illustrated’s Jon Wertheim also suggested that the ban could be lifted, indicating that the decision would be a positive development for tennis fans and players alike. The lifting of the ban would also mean that Wimbledon would regain its ranking points, which were lost due to sanctions from the ATP and WTA.
The potential lifting of the ban on players from Russia and Belarus would mark a significant change for British tennis officials, who faced backlash from the governing bodies of men’s and women’s tennis for enacting the ban in the first place.