Russian and Belarusian tennis players may now be BANNED from the Italian Open… while Andy Murray is set to speak up in defence of Wimbledon’s decision to bar such stars from competing due to Ukraine invasion
- Decision to bar Russians and Belarusians from Wimbledon caused controversy
- Novak Djokovic is among those to have criticised the AELTC for its Russian ban
- Italy is considering a similar move for the upcoming Italian Open in Rome
- Sportsmail understands Andy Murray is set to defend the Wimbledon call
After 48 hours of being battered by the rest of the sport, Wimbledon and British tennis have finally found some potential allies.
The All England Club have been shaken by the near-universal condemnation from within the game for their decision to ban Russian players.
On Thursday, however, there was some succour from contrasting sources: former Ukrainian player Alex Dolgopolov most definitely, and possibly the Italian government too.
In addition, Sportsmail understands Andy Murray is also prepared to speak up in defence of Wimbledon’s decision when he next addresses an open press conference.
According to Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, the government in Rome are considering stepping in to stop players from Russia and Belarus competing at next month’s prestigious Italian Open in the capital.
A move by the Italians would make Wimbledon less isolated. It would doubtless draw similar fire from those who have criticised the position held by SW19 and at the Lawn Tennis Association. Martina Navratilova, Billie Jean King, Novak Djokovic and both the ATP and WTA Tours have all spoken out against them.
Russian and Belarusian players could be banned from the Italian Open following the decision to bar them from Wimbledon
World No 2 Daniil Medevdev (left) will join Rublev (right) in being sidelined at SW19 this year
Novak Djokovic slammed the decision as ‘crazy’ and said he ‘cannot support’ the move
But recently retired male Ukrainian player Dolgopolov came to Wimbledon’s defence yesterday as he launched a scathing attack on Russian world No 8 Andrey Rublev.
The Russian player had suggested they should be allowed to compete with all their prize money going towards humanitarian aid. Rublev pleaded he was an apolitical person and said they were being subjected to ‘complete discrimination’.
Dolgopolov accused Rublev of ‘lying and hypocrisy’, tweeting: ‘This statement is a perfect example why LTA decision is the right decision.
Andy Murray is understood to be set to speak out in support of the Wimbledon decision
‘Exactly what his president (Vladimir Putin) and their propaganda does every day, LIE! ‘I don’t know anything, I’m not reading the news, I’m not following, I have no education.’ LIE.
‘Rublev played doubles with a Ukrainian player 10 days before the war, has straight contact to any Ukrainian player on tournaments. He surely knows what is happening, considering he wrote ‘no war’ on camera in the first days of this war.
‘If you know nothing and don’t follow (the news), why on earth are you willing to donate your prize money? Better just say nothing than try to LIE, like your government does, just to keep your regular life running.’
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