Former ATP Tour star Alexandr Dolgopolov has hit back against Andrey Rublev's claims that Wimbledon 's ban on Russian and Belarusian players amounts to "complete discrimination."
Russian Rublev—who is currently ranked eighth in the world—criticised the All England Club 's decision to not allow athletes from the two concerned nations to compete in the grass-court campaign. The choice was made in response to Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine —in which Belarusian forces have also played a role—meaning stars like world No. 2 Daniil Medvedev won't be able to compete.
"What is happening now is complete discrimination against us. The reasons they gave us had no sense, they were not logical," said Rublev at the Serbia Open in Belgrade this week. "Banning Russian or Belarusian players. . will not change anything," he added, suggesting organisers would have a greater impact by instead donating prize money to a worthy cause.
But Dolgopolov called Rublev's comments "mostly mostly lying and hypocrisy". "This statement of Rublev is a perfect example, why LTA decision is the right decision," Dolgopolov wrote in a lengthy post shared on Twitter. "Exactly what his president [ Vladimir Putin ] and their propaganda does every day, LIE!
"''I don't know anything, I'm not reading the news, I'm not following, I have no education.' LIE. Rublev played doubles with a Ukrainian player 10 days before the start of the big war, has straight contact to any Ukrainian player on tournaments and yes, he surely knows what is happening, considering he wrote 'no war' on camera in the first days of this war."
Russia's siege on Ukraine started on February 24, one day before Rublev scribbled "no war" on a camera lens having advanced to the final of the Dubai Tennis Championships. He and many other Russian athletes have stopped short of condemning Putin or Russia in public, however.
The topic is understandably a sensitive one for Dolgopolov, who was born in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv and represented his country in the Davis Cup. The 33-year-old has volunteered to help his country's battle against Russian forces and said in March that he may be killed defending Ukraine.
"Andrei, you want to know what's happening? Try Googling one word – Bucha," Dolgopolov's address continued. "Or I'm sure you have my contact, feel free to ask, I will show you."
Sports athletes can often play a prominent role in influencing political matters, leading many to encourage Russian stars to publicly denounce the war and Putin. It's possible other sports events could follow the All England Club's lead in banning associated athletes from their competitions, with no immediate end to the war in sight.
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