World association

WTA chief promises ‘strong reactions’ to ban on Russian and Belarusian players

Tennis – WTA Tour Finals – Pan American Tennis Center, Guadalajara, Mexico – November 15, 2021 WTA Tour CEO Steve Simon before the match. Picture taken November 15, 2021 REUTERS/Henry Romero

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April 24 (Reuters) – Women’s Tennis Association chief Steve Simon has warned Wimbledon organizers and the British tennis body of “strong reactions” to their decision to ban players from Russia and Belarus from taking part at tournaments.

The All England Club (AELTC), which organizes the grass major, and the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) will not allow Russian and Belarusian players to participate in events in the UK due to the invasion of Ukraine by Moscow. Read more

The move has been criticized by the ATP, which organizes the men’s tour, and the WTA as “discriminatory”, with world governing bodies saying they were assessing the sanctions in response.

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Simon told the Tennis Podcast that Wimbledon’s decision was against Grand Slam rules and the agreement they have with the tournament while the LTA, which has WTA-sanctioned events, violated the statutes and rules. rules regarding the entry of athletes.

“We don’t have the same jurisdiction over Grand Slam tournaments as we do over our own sanctioned events. We have precedents… where these situations may have occurred where fines and tournament sanctions have been imposed,” Simon said. .

“I think you will see some strong reactions coming from us, but what are they and how far they will go remains to be determined.”

Tennis governing bodies banned Russia and Belarus from international team competitions after the invasion, but individual players from both countries are allowed to participate in their respective tours as neutrals.

Simon said the ATP and WTA were in discussion on the matter, but decisions would be independent.

The AELTC, in its statement announcing the decision, said it must play its part in the efforts of government, industry, sports and creative institutions to “limit Russia’s global influence by the most appropriate means. as powerful as possible.

“People think sport and politics shouldn’t match and shouldn’t be intertwined, but that’s not the reality,” Simon said.

“Sometimes sports mixes with politics and here is a situation where politics mixes with sports. This is real life.

“The one thing this sport has always agreed on, we disagree on a lot of things, but the one thing we’ve always been united on is that coming into our events… has always been merit-based and non-discriminatory.”

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Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; edited by Kim Coghill

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