Ukraine's Monfils says russiadians should not be banned from Wimbledon

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Ukraine's Monfils says russiadians should not be banned from Wimbledon

Ukraine's Elina Monfils said Russian and Belarusian tennis players who denounce Moscow's invasion of her country should be allowed to play at Wimbledon.

The grasscourt major announced on Wednesday that Russian and Belarusian competitors would be banned from this year's tournament.

The decision means that the likes of men's world number 2 Daniil Medvedev of Russia and women's fourth-ranked Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus are ruled out of the tournament June 27 -- July 10 due to the decision.

On Wednesday, World Number 25 Monfils — formerly Svitolina — joined fellow Ukrainian players in seeking a ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes from international competitions, but appeared to soften her stance in an interview with the BBC on Thursday.

Monfils said that they don't want them to be completely banned. If players don't speak out against the Russian government, it is the right thing to ban them.

We want them to speak up, if they are with us and the rest of the world or the Russian government. The main point is for me.

The governing bodies of men's and women's tennis criticised Wimbledon for its decision, while WTA founder Billie Jean King said the grand slam's decision was a complex undertaking amid the challenges and pressures they were facing.

King said that one of the founding principles of the WTA was that any girl in the world, if she was good enough, would have a place to compete.

Monfils, who has friends and family in Ukraine, said Russian and Belarusian players had to do more.

In February, Medvedev made a plea for peace on Twitter while his compatriot Andrey Rublev wrote No War Please on the lens of a TV camera on his way to winning the Dubai title.

I can count on one hand how many Russian and Belarusian players asked me how I'm doing, how my family, is everyone safe? Monfils said something.

That's why I feel sad about this situation. Some people should do a bit more than they've done. Russian and Belarusian players have been very sad. We're colleagues who see each other every week, so it's shocking to see this change and so quick. The Professional Tennis Players Association PTPA, the breakaway players' body launched in 2020 by Novak Djokovic, said it was committed to protecting the tennis community after hearing of the experiences of individuals affected by the war.

As major competitions around the sport contemplate banning Russian and Belarusian athletes, we have to reflect and understand that many of them have lost their freedom of choice and expression due to the laws being enforced by the Russian and Belarusian federations, according to the PTPA.

The invasion may result in imprisonment, if you speak against Russian or Belarus.