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Nadal on Wimbledon’s ban of Russian and Belarusian players: ‘It’s unfair’

Spanish tennis star Rafa Nadal said on Sunday that Wimbledon’s ban on Russian and Belarusian players amid Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine is “unfair.” 

“I think it’s very unfair to my Russian tennis mates, my colleagues. In that sense it’s not their fault what’s happening in this moment with the war,” Nadal told reporters at the Madrid Open, Reuters reported

“Let’s see what happens in the next weeks, if the players will take some kind of decision,” Nadal added. “When the government imposes some restrictions, you just have to follow them.”

Nadal also said that tennis remains secondary to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and its human cost, according to

“At the end of the day, what happens in our game doesn’t have any importance when we can see so many people dying and suffering and seeing the bad situation they are having in Ukraine,” Nadal said in the interview. “It is very serious.”

Nadal’s remarks come as the All England Lawn Tennis Club, the group that organizes and hosts Wimbledon, announced last week that it has banned Russian and Belarusian players from competing in this year’s contest due to conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) president Steve Simon said Wimbledon’s ban violates Grand Slam rules, warning that a “strong reaction” against the ban was forthcoming.

The International Skating Union, Skating’s governing body, also announced a similar ban on Russia and Belarus, banning both countries from hosting international skating competitions in the future. 

Nadal, a 21-time Grand Slam champion, joins several other tennis stars such as Elina Svitolina and Novak Djokovic have criticized the tournament’s decision to impose the ban, with some noting that Wimbledon should make an exemption for those players who publicly condemn Russia war.

Tags International Skating Union Madrid Novak Djokovic Rafa Nadal Rafael Nadal Rafel Nadal Russia-Ukraine conflict Russia-Ukraine conflict Spain The All England Lawn Tennis Club The All England Lawn Tennis Club The Championships, Wimbledon Wimbledon Wimbledon Wimbledon

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