MOSCOW, July 5. /TASS/. Fines imposed on organizers of the Wimbledon tennis tournament deal a blow to the event’s reputation, Russian Ambassador to the UK Andrei Kelin told the Rossiya-24 TV channel on Tuesday.
On April 20, the Wimbledon organizers, the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) and the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), announced a decision to bar players from Russia and Belarus citing as a reason Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine. Other tennis competitions in the UK also are covered by the ban. The decision came under criticism from the ATP and the WTA, who announced their decisions on May 20 to strip Wimbledon of ranking points due to the move. The decision violated the fundamental principles stipulating that players of any nationality can enter tournaments based on their merits and without any type of discrimination, the two global tennis governing bodies have said. In connection with this, LTA and AELTC were slapped with fines of 620 000 GBP ($750,600) and 207,000 GBP ($250,900), respectively.
"WTA fined Wimbledon organizers, and they will have to pay the money. In fact, one million (US dollars) is nothing to them," Kelin said. "it’s not a financial blow, it’s a reputational one."
The ambassador suggested that organizers may try to compensate reputational damages by, for example, "increasing the prize money for winners."
The Wimbledon tournament, one of the four prestigious Grand Slam tournaments, has been held in London since 1877. This year, it runs between June 27 and July 10. The reigning gentlemen's singles champion is Novak Djokovic of Serbia, and Ashley Barty of Australia is the reigning Wimbledon ladies' singles champion.