Two-times Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova said she opposed the All England Club’s decision to allow Russian and Belarusian players to compete at this year’s tournament.
Wimbledon last year banned players from Russia and Moscow-allied Belarus after the invasion of Ukraine and the Lawn Tennis Association also barred players from other events in the United Kingdom.
However, competitors from the two countries will be able to enter the Grand Slam in July if they compete as “neutral” athletes and comply with certain conditions.
“First of all, for sure I’m always staying against the war. For sure, I’m just more worried about the Ukrainian people and players,” Kvitova told reporters after winning her Miami Open semi-final against Sorana Cirstea.
“I appreciate that Wimbledon had a tough time last year not giving the points (after) the Russian and Belarusian didn’t play.
“I think they shouldn’t be allowed actually. In my opinion, (n)either to the Olympics. So I’m just a little bit on the Ukrainian side of this,” she said.
Kvitova said she was particularly concerned about Russian and Belarusian involvement in the Olympic Games.
“Not in the Olympics for sure, because I feel the Olympic Games are because we don’t want war in the world. So that’s my concern. I am really appreciating that Wimbledon didn’t take them last year,” she said.
Kvitova said that she and other players had not been consulted about the Wimbledon decision and the issue had not been discussed in the locker-room.
The All England Club, which runs Wimbledon, said the decision was made after talks with the UK government, Britain’s governing Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) and international tennis bodies.
The men’s ATP tour and women’s WTA tour – who denied world ranking points for Wimbledon last year because of the ban on Russian and Belarusian players – welcomed the Wimbledon decision but Ukraine’s foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba condemned the move as “immoral”.