Wimbledon 2023: Organisers maintain ‘total condemnation of Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine’

The Wimbledon tournament organisers did not mince their words about Russia and Belarus in their press conference

Wimbledon Centre Court and trophy 25th June 2022, All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, England; Wimbledon Tennis tournament; The women’s singles trophy on display on centre court (Action Plus/Panoramic)

The tournament organisers of Wimbledon hosted a press conference on Tuesday to announce their plans for this summer – and took the opportunity to reiterate their stance on Russian and Belarusian players.

They will be permitted to compete this year as neutral athletes, having been banned in the light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. This resulted in the ATP and WTA withdrawing ranking points from the only Grand Slam to be played on grass.

“Our announcement was made last month after careful and deep consideration,” said Ian Hewitt, chairman of the All England Club. “At the time, we set out the factors which informed our decision and why, taking all circumstances into account, we consider these to be the appropriate arrangements for Wimbledon this year.

“It was a difficult and challenging decision, which was made with the full support of our UK Government and the international stakeholder bodies in tennis, but does not lessen in any way our total condemnation of Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.”

Further to some of the concerns expressed by Ukrainian players on the tour, Hewitt announced that they will fund accommodation costs for those in main draw and qualifying throughout the grass court season. Ukrainian players will also be able to practise on grass courts either at Wimbledon or at Surbiton.

Hewitt also confirmed that they will donate one pound per ticket-holder to a Ukrainian relief fund, and will invite 1,000 Ukrainian refugees to Wimbledon for a day.

Other notable changes for 2023 will be a tweak to the white clothing rule, with women now able to wear other colours on their shorts if they wish to do so.

Like all the other Slams, the men’s doubles will now be best-of-three sets.

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