The All England Club has been widely criticised for banning Russian and Belarusian stars (Picture: Getty)

Tennis legend John McEnroe believes Wimbledon was wrong to ban Russian and Belarusian players from this summer’s event.

In April, the All England Club decided to refuse entry to players from the two nations following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The move was met with criticism from tennis’ two main tours – the ATP and WTA – who described the ruling as ‘discriminatory’ and, in response, have since stripped Wimbledon of its ranking points.

Speaking to Reuters, McEnroe, the seven-time grand-slam winner, suggested that Wimbledon have created a ‘lose-lose’ situation for tennis.

He said: ‘It was a mistake (to ban Russian and Belarusian players). I know that it’s a very horrible, tricky, terrible situation, obviously, in Ukraine.

Rafael Nadal has labelled Wimbledon’s move to ban Russian players as ‘unfair’ (Picture: Getty)

‘And no one else has made that decision. I think there was something with the government? I don’t know exactly. I wish that wasn’t what they did. And I wish the ATP and the WTA didn’t decide it, say right now no points.

‘It’s like a lose-lose right now. Tennis players, we are like a fraternity. We travel the world. And even if we speak different languages, there’s a connection. And in a small way, it’s like a family. And we need to support each other.

Daniil Medvedev, the world No.2, will not feature at Wimbledon this year (Picture: Getty)

‘It’s difficult to see some of our best players not playing because of something they have nothing to do with it. So I hope it is resolved. I don’t know. But it’s a bad situation.’

The ban on Russian players means Daniil Medvedev, the current world No.2, will not be allowed to play at SW19.

Meanwhile, a host of stars including Victoria Azarenka, a two-time grand-slam winner, will be absent from the grass warm-up events with the LTA following suit in excluding Russian and Belarusian stars.

The lack of ranking points on offer has led to suggestions Wimbledon will be reduced to an ‘exhibition’ this year, with some raising doubts about their participation in the event.

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However, McEnroe, who won Wimbledon three times, does not believe the British grand-slam will be significantly affected.

He added: ‘I see all players going to Wimbledon, but that depends on the individual.

‘The fact that there’s no points, I disagree with that, but I don’t think that’s going to stop people, the players from going to Wimbledon.’


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