John McEnroe has asked the AELTC to change its position and allow Russian and Belarusian players to return to Wimbledon in 2023. Last year, Wimbledon was the only tournament that banned Russian and Belarusian players from competing.
“Obviously this is a horrible situation that is happening in the war and people are dealing with it in different ways. Last year I did not agree that Wimbledon did not allow Russian or Belarusian players to play.
I wouldn’t agree to that this year. I don’t know what they’re going to do. It is a situation that nobody wants. So hopefully something will change to allow players to play. It happens that in our sport, some of our best players come from those two countries.
They shouldn’t, I don’t think, be punished for something they have nothing to do with,» McEnroe said at a Eurosport event, per tennis365.
McEnroe calls for Wimbledon to allow Russian and Belarusian players to play
Wimbledon’s decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players from competing at Wimbledon 2022 did not sit well with ATP and WTA officials.
The ATP and WTA made it quite clear that they were totally against their ban and sanctioned Wimbledon by removing ranking points from the 2022 tournament. Since the end of Wimbledon 2022, tournament officials have been under pressure to change their stance.
At the start of this season, Belarusian tennis player Aryna Sabalenka lifted her first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open. Sabalenka, who is now a Grand Slam champion and world number 2, was one of the big names not allowed to compete at Wimbledon last year.
In Melbourne, Sabalenka competed as a neutral. After winning the Australian Open, his name was engraved on the trophy but not the abbreviation of his country. As it stands now, Wimbledon is the only tournament that could ban Russian and Belarusian players from competing in 2023.