The Kremlin said Wednesday that banning Russian tennis players from Wimbledon over Moscow’s military campaign in Ukraine would be “unacceptable.”
“Once again they simply turn athletes into hostages to political prejudice, political intrigues,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters. “This is unacceptable.”
“Taking into account that Russia is a very strong tennis country, our athletes are at the top of world rankings, the competition itself will suffer from their removal,” he added.
The Times reported that organisers are to ban Russian and Belarus players due to Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine.
The move comes amid Russia’s growing sporting isolation on the global stage following President Vladimir Putin’s decision to send troops to Ukraine on February 24.
Russian Tennis Federation president Shamil Tarpishchev denounced the decision but added there was “nothing we can do.”
“I consider this decision to be wrong,” he told Russia’s Sport-Express news site.