Fearing a victory would give a boost to Vladimir Putin, Wimbledon is ready to ban Russian tennis player Daniil Medvedev, according to The Telegraph. Talks of banning Russian players who do not publicly speak out against Putin and the country's invasion of Ukraine began in March.
Medvedev has not yet publicly spoken out against the invasion, but he also has not lived in Russia for over ten years. UK sports minister Nigel Huddleston said there have been "discussions" between All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) where the tournament is held to determine their next steps.
Since the AELTC has an independent tournament status, they could ban Russian and Belarusian athletes without facing any legal consequences. Russian and Belarusian athletes have currently been able to compete in ATP, WTA, and ITF events playing under a neutral flag. Wimbledon's independence from those groups means they can make their own rules, though.
Here's move details, via a report from The Telegraph:
"Private member clubs have more freedom as to who to allow in or not, so they wouldn't be subject to the same discrimination laws as the tour. If you are running the main tennis tour, you have the freedom to ban players -- if they have been found guilty of match-fixing or doping, for instance -- but you have to be able to show that this course of action is reasonable. In this instance, if the tours took strong action, Russians players could argue that they are being prevented from making a living through no fault of their own. That is not so much of an issue for Wimbledon, however."
Huddleston told the Telegraph regarding Medvedev and other Russians that he would like "to get assurance in a written declaration that they are not receiving money from Putin, Russia or Belarus [and] that they will not be making supportive comments of Putin, Russia or Belarus."
While the group has no jurisdiction on rules at Wimbledon, WTA head Steve Simon said in March that he does not support banning players who do not publicly criticize the "decisions of an authoritarian leadership," according to CNN.
"... I can tell you that we have never banned athletes from participating on our tour as the result of political positions their leadership may take, so it would take something very significant for that to change, but again we don't know where this is going," Simon said. "I feel very strongly that these individual athletes should not be the ones that are being penalized by the decisions of an authoritarian leadership that is obviously doing terrible, reprehensible things."
Wimbledon reportedly will have a final decision on how they will handle Russian athletes by mid-March.