Wimbledon's ban "only incites hatred and intolerance on the basis of nationality," Belarusian Tennis Federation says.
Belarus has sent a blistering reply to Wimbledon's ban.

Wimbledon announced it has banned Russian and Belarusian players from the 2022 Championships in condemnation of Russia's invasion of neighboring Ukraine.

More: Djokovic Does Not Support Wimbledon Ban on Russians

The Belarusian Tennis Federation ripped the ban as as "destructive action" that "in no way contributes to the resolution of conflicts, but only incite hatred and intolerance on the basis of nationality."

Calling out "incompetence" in Wimbledon's decision making, the Belarusian Tennis Federation said in a statement this is a clear case of politics intruding on sport.

Tennis Express

The Federation also questioned why players from nations involved in past conflicts were not previously banned from the grass-court Grand Slam.

"Throughout tennis history, the world has experienced armed conflicts – in Iran, Afghanistan, Syria, Yugoslavia and other countries, but never until now have tournament organizers excluded athletes from the UNITED STATES, Great Britain and other countries from participating, and other athletes have not pushed the public to divide tennis players on a national basis," the Belarusian Tennis Federation said. "We once again note the policy of double standards applied to the current situation.

"All this only confirms our confidence that world sport and international sports organizations have now been turned into an instrument of political pressure and manipulation and, unfortunately, have nothing to do with the development of sports and its popularization."

Last July, Belarusian No. 1 Aryna Sabalenka reached her maiden major semifinal at Wimbledon.

Pointing out Grand Slam champions including Novak Djokovic and Martina Navratilova have publicly opposed Wimbledon's ban, the BTF said it will take legal action to "neutralize the current situation and assures that it will continue to defend the rights of Belarusian tennis players to participate in international tournaments."

"Absolutely politicized decisions lead our entire sport to global destabilization – the ASIA-Pacific and the WTA have already sharply criticized the decision to suspend athletes from the tournament," the BTF said in its statement. "Famous athletes such as Novak Djokovic and Martina Navratilova also condemned the decision. The decision goes against the joint statement of international tennis organizations, which allowed the players of Belarus and Russia to their personal competitions in a neutral status.

"Obviously, the reason for such a tough decision was the direct pressure of the British government, for example, the statements of the Minister of Sports Nigel Huddleston about the need to allow Belarusian and Russian tennis players to participate in the tournament only after signing a special declaration condemning the special operation and providing guarantees that athletes do not support the current government in their countries and do not receive state funding. Such statements indicate the incompetence and ignorance of officials from the UK of the state system of supporting sports in Belarus and Russia."

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