‘Tennis Is Stronger When We Stand Together’ – American Legend Billie Jean King Draws a Critical Review of the Decision to Ban Russian and Belarusian Athletes From Wimbledon

Published 04/21/2022, 11:22 PM EDT

In a major blow to the top players like Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev, Aryna Sabalenka, and Victoria Azarenka, Wimbledon banned the Russian and the Belarusian athletes from participating at this year’s tournament. Further, many saw this coming, especially with tensions mounting in Eastern Europe. Recently, American tennis legend, Billie Jean King expressed her views on this decision.

Billie Jean King criticizes the decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players at Wimbledon


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12-time Grand Slam singles champion, Billie, disapproved of the tournament’s decision to ban players due to their nationality. She said, “The decision of the LTA and the AELTC regarding the Russian and Belarusian players at this year’s tournament was a difficult and complex undertaking, and I appreciate the challenges and pressures they are facing.


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Further, she added, “One of the guiding principles of the founding of the WTA was that any girl in the world, if she was good enough, would have a place to compete. I stood by that in 1973 and I stand by that today. I cannot support the banning of individual athletes from any tournament, simply because of their nationality.”

Drawing attention to where the focus should lie amidst these tough times, Billie said, “Tennis is stronger when we stand together, and our continued support of the Tennis Plays for Peace initiative, which provides meaningful financial support and resources to Ukraine, needs to be our focus.

How will this decision affect the players?

As a result of the Wimbledon Championships’ decision to ban the players of Russia and Belarus, it will severely affect the 2022 season of top players in the world. One of the most prestigious tournaments in the world, Wimbledon offers up to 2000 ranking points and lucrative prize money for the participants.


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Further, reigning US Open champion, Daniil Medvedev’s hopes of regaining the Number 1 ranking has been put in further limbo after this decision. He reached the fourth round last season. However, he will lose the ranking points earned last season after missing the tournament this year.

Mar 31, 2022; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Daniil Medvedev wipes his face between points against. Hubert Hurkacz (POL)(not pictured) in a men’s singles quarterfinal in the. Miami Open at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Similarly, World Number 4, Aryna Sabalenka, who reached the Wimbledon semifinals last year, will lose significant ranking points. This will put a huge blow on her WTA ranking.


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This decision to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes from Wimbledon has received mixed responses. Billie has come out strongly against this decision. Do you think that this decision will take the sheen out of Wimbledon this year? Let us know your views in the comments below.



Vatsal Shah

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Vatsal Shah is a tennis author at EssentiallySports. With a Bachelor's degree in engineering, he is a die hard fan of tennis and sports in general. He is an ardent follower of Rafael Nadal and is inspired by his never-say-die attitude.