Andy Murray says he expects Wimbledon to lift its ban on Russian and Belarusian tennis players for this year’s championships.
The Grand Slam tournament imposed the ban last year, under pressure from the UK government, in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
But Murray is anticipating the sanction being lifted, paving the way for women’s world No2 Aryna Sabalenka and men’s No6 Daniil Medvedev to play in London in July.
“It’s a really difficult one and I do feel for the players who weren’t able to play last year, but I also understand the situation and why it’s really hard for Wimbledon to make a call on it,” the Briton told the BBC.
“My understanding is that they are going to be allowed to play and I’m not going to be going nuts if that is the case. But if Wimbledon went down another route, I would be understanding of that.”
The elite men’s and women’s tours stripped Wimbledon of ranking points in response to last year’s ban, while Britain’s Lawn Tennis Association was fined £1.4m for banning Russian and Belarusian players from other UK events.
It is not the first time that two-time Wimbledon champion Murray has appeared conflicted on the sport’s response to Russia’s invasion.
The former British No1 last year donated half a million pounds of his prize money to helping Ukrainian children affected by the conflict but also said he “not supportive” of Russian and Belarusian players being banned from tournaments.
Murray was speaking as he prepared for this week’s BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, one of the biggest non-Grand Slam events on the circuit.
He faces Tomas Etcheverry of Argentina in the first round on Thursday and could meet fellow Britons Dan Evans or Jack Draper if he reaches the third round.