UK Tennis chiefs offered £500k by WTA to let Russians back into Grand Slam
The governing body of women’s tennis the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) have offered to retrospectively reduce a £1m fine, imposed on the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) last year, if Russians and Belarusians are allowed to compete in LTA competitions this year.
Athletes from the two countries were controversially denied entry to the Wimbledon Championships as well as warm up events including Nottingham, Birmingham and Eastbourne.
In response the WTA, and its male equivalent the ATP, imposed fines on the LTA and the All England Club.
It is unlikely that the LTA will appeal against the ATP.
“As we have said before, we disagree with the outcome and the fines levied,” said an LTA spokesperson. “Nevertheless, our current focus is on working with the WTA, ATP, ITF, AELTC and UK government in order to find a resolution for events in 2023.”
It looks likely that both the LTA and the All England Lawn Tennis Club will have to back down from a stance last year which saw the likes of Daniil Medvedev unable to compete at Wimbledon – but which saw a Muscovite in Elena Rybakina winning the women’s singles under the flag of Kazakhstan.
Yesterday evening the UK Government had announced that 30 nations had pledged support to an ongoing ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes competing in international sporting competitions – it is unclear as to whether this includes Wimbledon, where athletes don’t compete for their country.
“We agree that Putin cannot use sport to legitimise his actions on the world stage,” said culture secretary Lucy Frazer yesterday.