Wimbledon using Russian tennis players as "political hostages"
Reports suggest that Russian and Belarusian tennis stars will be barred from this year's Grand Slam.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov commented on reports that Russian and Belarusian tennis players may be banned from Wimbledon this summer, saying they will become "hostages" to political forces if this happens.
Tennis bosses at the London Grand Slam will announce a ban on players such as Daniil Medvedev, the world number two, despite tennis authorities the ITF, ATP and WTA clearing stars from Russia and Belarus to compete as neutrals.
Peskov said this move would be entirely "unacceptable" from the UK. “Given that Russia is a strong tennis country... the competitions themselves will suffer from their removal,” Peskov, according to R-Sport.
“And once again making athletes hostages of some kind of political prejudices, political intrigues and hostile actions towards our country – this is unacceptable,” Peskov warned.
Former top 10 ace Andrei Chesnokov said banned stars should sue Wimbledon organizers.
“Daniil Medvedev has a powerful American lawyer. He can sue and ask Wimbledon to compensate him for the money he could lose at Wimbledon. I think that Wimbledon should be put in its place.”
The possible ban, which could be confirmed next week, comes in the aftermath of a suggestion by the UK's Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston that athletes wishing to compete in Wimbledon sign a formal declaration denouncing any ties or support for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
It has been argued many times that the anti-Russian sanctions reflected a sentiment of Russophobia, as they have gone and affected sports, literature, art, and all aspects of the Russian culture.