Wimbledon tennis bosses are in discussion with the British government over the possible ban of Russian and Belarusian players at this year’s event.
The government reportedly wants to avoid a situation in which a Russian player could win the Grand Slam, and therefore benefit the country’s president Vladimir Putin.
The All-England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) said the issue is complex and challenging.
World number two Daniil Medvedev has been permitted to continue playing but not under the Russian flag.
The England tennis club said a decision on players from Russia and Belarus will be made by mid-May, ahead of the tournament in June.
Russia has been barred from defending their Davis Cup and Billie Jean titles following the nation’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February.
“We have noted the UK government’s guidance regarding the attendance of Russian and Belarusian individuals in a neutral capacity at sporting events in the UK,” the AELTC said in a statement.
Medvedev has not yet denounced Russia or President Putin following the invasion of Ukraine, a factor in his potential suspension from Wimbledon.
UK sports minister Nigel Huddleston said he asked for a written letter to declare that any Russian player is not receiving financial support from its government.
“A written declaration that they are not receiving money from Putin, Russia or Belarus and that they will not be making supportive comments of Putin, Russia or Belarus,” he told the Telegraph.
Wimbledon runs as an independent tournament therefore they could ban Russian and Belarusian athletes and not face any legal consequences.
The year’s second Grand Slam is set to run from 27 June until 10 July.
Image source: @TennisWorldUSA