PTPA denounces Russian invasion but says it does not support discrimination of players based on nationality
In its statement, the PTPA said they have spoken to many impacted by the current crisis and highlighted that players may not be able to voice their true opinion for fear of retaliation by their governments
The Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA), the body co-founded by world No 1 Novak Djokovic and Canada’s Vasek Pospisil to represent and protect players interests, has issued a statement in relation to the Wimbledon ban on Russian & Belarusian players, saying that while they denounce the Russian and Belarusian invasion of Ukraine, t it does support the discrimination of any player on the basis of their nationality.
On Wednesday, the All England Club announced that it would not allow players from Russia & Belarus to participate at Wimbledon due to the Russia vs. Ukraine conflict. The move sent out shockwaves throughout the tennis world, with this being the first instance of a tournament banning players of a specific nation.
The ATP & WTA Tours both strongly condemned the move, as did several current and former players, including Djokovic himself and tennis icons Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova.
PTPA statement on Wimbledon ban of Russian & Belarusian players
In its statement, the PTPA said they have spoken to many individuals impacted by the current crisis and highlighted that many of them may not be able to voice their true opinion for fear of retaliation by their respective governments.
“We strongly denounce the Russian and Belarus invasion of Ukraine. We recognize that we cannot stop the violence but our collective voice can be used to support Ukraine and its citizens who continue to advocate for peace and justice. The PTPA is committed to learning from and protecting our tennis both privately and publicly. We have listened to many individuals who are deeply impacted by this war and thank them for sharing their stories.”
“As major competition throughout our sport contemplates banning Russian and Belarusian athletes, we have to reflect and understand that many of them have lost the freedom of their choice and expression due to the laws being enforced by the Russian and Belarus Federations, speaking against Russia or Belarus or denouncing the invasion may result in imprisonment. The PTPA does not discriminate against any tennis player based on nationality but will stand against those who support, express, or commit violence against the innocent,” the statement said.
It remains to be seen how the fallout of Wimbledon’s move will play out, with reports emerging that the WTA Tour could consider sanctions against tournaments in the United Kingdom for violating entry rules for their tournaments.