Wimbledon fined for banning Russian players

Dylan Bettencourt

Wimbledon organisers were handed a hefty fine for refusing Russian and Belarusian players the chance to compete at the Grand Slam warm-up tournaments.

The All England Lawn Tennis Club has been fined R4 million and the Lawn Tennis Association R12 million for implementing the ban.

Both organisations have appealed against the fines, but they will have to be paid in full before the hearing can take place.

All England chief executive Sally Bolton said she was disappointed to receive the fine.

“I think the first thing to say is that it is the subject of a legal process so I can’t comment specifically on that,” Bolton told reporters.

“We stand by the decision we made. We are deeply disappointed at the reactions of the tours to that decision and I probably can’t say anything more on that at this time, I’m afraid.”

The fine was not directly handed to the Wimbledon organisers because they refused Russian or Belarusian participation. The fine was given because the players were not permitted at the warm-up events.

The tennis governing bodies have no direct jurisdiction when it comes to Grand Slams. The only way they could punish Wimbledon itself is to remove ranking points from the tournament.

Further controversy hit the Grand Slam when Novak Djokovic labelled it an “indoor” tournament after he was forced to play his match on Sunday with the roof closed as the day came to an end.

Bolton said there are no plans to move the first games earlier to ensure the final game of the day can be played under the sun for an extended period.

“We have had some longer matches, longer than we have anticipated in some instances. The reality of running a tennis event is that once you start the day you have no idea when the day’s going to finish.

“Matches are long and short, so it is pretty unpredictable,” she said.

Image source: @Wimbledon

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