UK tennis fined $1 million for Russian ban – media
The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) has slapped Wimbledon organizers the All England Club and the UK’s Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) with fines totaling $1 million after they banned Russian and Belarusian players from tournaments this summer, according to The Daily Mail.
The newspaper says that the LTA has “secretly” been handed a £620,000 fine ($750,000) and the All England Club a punishment of £207,000 ($250,000) for their stance on excluding Russians and Belarusians from all British events.
The WTA had already sanctioned Wimbledon by stripping this year’s tournament of rankings points – a move which mirrored that of the men’s ATP tour.
According to the Mail, UK tennis bosses and the British government have been angered by the financial punishments and will seek to appeal them, although that can only be done once the fines have been paid in full.
UK tennis became an outlier when it announced in April that Russian and Belarusian stars would be banned from tournaments because of the conflict in Ukraine.
That stance – which Wimbledon bosses defended as being in line with UK government guidance – ran in direct contrast to the WTA and ATP. Both tours have allowed players from the two countries to compete as neutrals.
The French Open allowed Russian and Belarusians to appear under neutral status earlier this year – a decision which will be followed by the US Open, which gets underway in August.
The Wimbledon ban meant that the likes of Russian men’s world number one Daniil Medvedev was prohibited from playing at SW19, while a host of other stars missed out such as Belarusian women’s top-10 ace Aryna Sabalenka.
Prior to Wimbledon, Russian and Belarusian female players were barred from warm-up events at Eastbourne, Nottingham, and Birmingham. The LTA runs the first two events, while the All England Club holds the license for the Birmingham tournament.
Commenting to the Mail on the fines imposed by the WTA, UK Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries claimed that “the LTA and Wimbledon should be praised for their move to make Russia an international sporting pariah and doing what is right in the current circumstances.”
However, prominent figures in tennis have criticized Wimbledon and the LTA, with Serbian six-time Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic calling the ban “crazy.”
The WTA and ATP have both suggested the actions of UK tennis are discriminatory.