Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal rip Wimbledon’s decision to ban Russian, Belarusian players: ‘Very unfair’

NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal took issue with Wimbledon banning Russian and Belarusian players from the second tennis major event of the season over Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and Belarus siding with the Kremlin.

No. 2 men’s player Daniil Medvedev, current U.S. Open men’s singles champion, is among those affected by a ban. Aryna Sabalenka, the No. 4 women’s player who is from Belarus, is also banned.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE SPORTS COVERAGE ON FOXNEWS.COM

Daniil Medvedev of Russia returns a shot to Hubert Hurkacz of Poland during the Miami Open on March 31, 2022, in Florida.

Daniil Medvedev of Russia returns a shot to Hubert Hurkacz of Poland during the Miami Open on March 31, 2022, in Florida.
(Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

“I think it’s very unfair of (on) my Russian tennis mates, my colleagues … it’s not their fault what’s happening in this moment with the war,” Nadal said in Spain, where he and the Serbian tennis star are getting ready to play at the Madrid Open.

He added: “I’m sorry for them. Wimbledon just took their decision … the government didn’t force them to do it. Let’s see what happens in the next weeks, if the players will take some kind of decision in that regard.”

NOVAK DJOKOVIC CAN PLAY AT WIMBLEDON; NO VACCINATION REQUIRED

Rafael Nadal pauses during a training session at the Mutua Madrid Open in Spain, April 28, 2022.

Rafael Nadal pauses during a training session at the Mutua Madrid Open in Spain, April 28, 2022.
(AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

Djokovic compared the situation to when he was banned from the Australian Open and the country of Australia for not being vaccinated against the coronavirus.

“It’s not the same thing, but going through something similar earlier this year for myself, it’s frustrating knowing that you’re not able to play. I still stand by my position that I don’t support the (Wimbledon) decision. I think it’s just not fair, it’s not right, but it is what it is,” he said.

Novak Djokovic returns the ball during a training session at the Mutua Madrid Open in Spain, April 30, 2022.

Novak Djokovic returns the ball during a training session at the Mutua Madrid Open in Spain, April 30, 2022.
(AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

The All England Club, which hosts Wimbledon, justified its actions in a statement posted to Twitter.

“In the circumstances of such unjustified and unprecedented military aggression, it would be unacceptable for the Russian regime to derive any benefits from the involvement of Russian or Belarusian players with The Championships,” the organization said.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Wimbledon begins June 27.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Mojtaba Sadira

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.