TENNIS

'It's crazy' - Djokovic on decision to ban Russian, Belarusian players

The World Number one has slammed the ban on Russian and Belarusian players from competing at this year's Wimbledon

World Number One Novak Djokovic slams ban on Russian and Belarusian players from competing at this year's Wimbledon

Serbian Tennis star Novak Djokovic has slammed the Wimbledon and LTA's decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players from competing at the Grand Slam this year.

The announcement by the All England club was made on Wednesday, April 20 rand had ruled out, amongst a host of others, US Open champion and world No 2 Daniil Medvedev, World No 8 Andrey Rublev and Women's world number four - Aryna Sabalenka,from participating in the tournament.

However, speaking at the Serbia Open on Wednesday, the Serbian great and reigning Wimbledon men's singles champion Djokovic, expressed his sincere disagreement with the organizer's decision.

"I will always condemn war, I will never support war being myself a child of war," Djokovic said.

"I know how much emotional trauma it leaves. In Serbia we all know what happened in 1999. In the Balkans we have had many wars in recent history.

"However, I cannot support the decision of Wimbledon, I think it is crazy. When politics interferes with sport, the result is not good." the 34-year-old said.

Womens world No 15 - Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Belarus' Victoria Azarenka - a two-time Australian Open champion, will also miss out on the Grand Slam following the recent ruling.

It is also understood that, Russian and Belarusian players have also been banned from all LTA grass court tournaments this summer.

The All England Club had also said in a statement: "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."

"If circumstances change materially between now and June, we will consider and respond accordingly."

The statement further read: "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."

Novak Djokovic's stance on the ban echoes that of the ATP and WTA.

Both organisations had released a statement on Wednesday expressing their concern over the ban.

However, to date, Russian and Belarusian athletes have been permitted to continue playing in ATP, WTA and ITF competitions as long as they do so under a neutral flag and without having to play any national anthem.

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