The former British number one and two-time Wimbledon winner Andy Murray has recently spoken against the All Lawn Tennis Club and government’s decision to ban Russian players from the historic British Grand Slam event.
Murray has said he is ‘not supportive’ of the move to ban Russian and Belarussian players from the event but has also said that there is no ‘right answer’ to the situation.
The Scotsman is donating all of his prize money this 2022 season to the humanitarian relief in Ukraine and has said that the guidance from the government, who have also asked sporting bodies to request written confirmation of players’ neutrality if they are to compete, was ‘not helpful’.
What has Wimbledon said on the ban?
On Wednesday 27 April 2022, the All England Club said: “We share in the universal condemnation of Russia’s illegal actions and have carefully considered the situation in the context of our duties to the players, to our community and to the broader UK public as a British Sporting institution.
“If circumstances change materially between now and June, we will consider and respond accordingly.”
The chairman of the All England Club Ian Hewitt said: “We recognise this is hard on the individuals affected, and it is with sadness they will suffer for the actions of the leaders of the Russian regime.
“We have carefully considered the alternative measures that might be taken with the UK Government guidance but, given the high profile environment of The Championships, the importance of not allowing sport to be used to promote the Russian regime and our broader concerns for public and player (including family) safety, we do not believe it is viable to proceed on any other basis at The Championships.”
What has Andy Murray said regarding the decision?
Speaking ahead of his match against Dominic Thiem at the Madrid Open, Murray said: “I’m not supportive of players getting banned. The guidance from the government was not helpful.
“My understanding of the guidance was that Russians and Belarusians can play if they sign a declaration that they’re against the war and against the Russian regime.
“I’m not sure how comfortable I would feel if something happened to one of the players of their families (as a result). I don’t think there’s a right answer.
“I have spoken to some of the Russian players. I’ve spoken to some of the Ukrainian players. I feel really bad for the players who aren’t allowed to play and I get that it will seem unfair to them.
“But I also know some of the people who work at Wimbledon, and I know how difficult a position they were in. I feel for everyone, feel for the players that can’t play, and I don’t support one side or the other.”
What have other tennis stars said?
Andy Murray is not the only player to be against the ban. The Russian tennis player Andrey Rublev has called the decision a ‘complete discriimination’ while Novak Djokovic has called it ‘crazy’ and Victoria Azarenka says it makes ‘no sense’.
Djokovic added to his comments saying: “I still stand by my position that I don’t support the decision. I think it’s just not fair, it’s not right, but it is what it is.”
21-time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal has said: “I think it’s very unfair on my Russian tennis mates, my colleagues. It’s not their fault what’s happening at this moment with the war.”
When is the Madrid Open?
Nadal, Djokovic and Murray are all featured in the Madrid Open this week which is available to watch through Amazon Prime.
This is the first tournament in 2022 that both Nadal and Djokovic will play in together and the final is scheduled to take place on Sunday 8 May 2022.