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IANS

Russian and Belarusian players will not be allowed to compete at Wimbledon 2022 because of the invasion of Ukraine, the organisers confirmed in a statement on Wednesday.

With this decision, men's world number two Daniil Medvedev of Russia and women's world number four Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus are the highest-ranked players to be affected.

Ian Hewitt, Chairman of the All England Club, said that in the circumstances of such unjustified and unprecedented military aggression by Russia, it would be unacceptable for the Russian regime to derive any benefits from the involvement of Russian or Belarusian players with 'The Championships'.

"We recognise that this is hard on the individuals affected, and it is with sadness that they will suffer for the actions of the leaders of the Russian regime. It is therefore our intention, with deep regret, to decline entries from Russian and Belarusian players to The Championships 2022.

"We have very carefully considered the alternative measures that might be taken within 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," he said in a statement.

With this decision, men's world number two Daniil Medvedev of Russia and women's world number four Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus are the highest-ranked players to be affected.

"On behalf of the All England Club and the Committee of Management of The Championships, we wish to express our ongoing support for all those impacted by the conflict in Ukraine during these shocking and distressing times," he 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. We have also taken into account guidance set out by the UK Government specifically in relation to sporting bodies and events.

"Given the profile of The Championships in the United Kingdom and around the world, it is our responsibility to play our part in the widespread efforts of Government, industry, sporting and creative institutions to limit Russia's global influence through the strongest means possible," he said in a statement.

However, Ian Hewitt said that if circumstances change materially between now and June, we will consider and respond accordingly.

"We also welcome the LTA's decision in declining entries from Russian and Belarusian players to UK events to ensure that British tennis is delivering a consistent approach across the summer," he said.

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