Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic criticized Wimbledon’s decision to exclude Russian and Belarusian players from this year’s tournament following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The two tennis greats said on Sunday that Wimbledon had acted unfairly, with Nadal saying that the decision was “very unfair” to his Russian colleagues.
“It’s not their fault what’s happening in this moment with the war,” Nadal, a 21-time Grand Slam winner, said in Spain, where both he and Djokovic are preparing to play in the Madrid Open.
“I’m sorry for them,” Nadal said. “Wimbledon just took their decision. … The government didn’t force them to do it.”
Nadal added: “Let’s see what happens in the next weeks, if the players will take some kind of decision in that regard.”
Also, The 20-time Grand slam winner who missed the Australian Open in January due to being deported from Australia reiterates it’s ‘not fair and right.’
“It’s not the same thing, but going through something similar earlier this year for myself, it’s frustrating knowing that you’re not able to play,” Djokovic said.
“I still stand by my position that I don’t support the [Wimbledon] decision. I think it’s just not fair, it’s not right, but it is what it is.
The Wimbledon starts on June 27 and the prominent players affected by the ban include reigning US Open champion Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev and French Open runner-up Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who are all from Russia. Aryna Sabalenka and Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, which has aided Russian forces, would also be unable to play.