Rafael Nadal talks about Wimbledon’s ban on Russian players

Russian and Belarusian players have been banned from competing at Wimbledon and in all LTA grass court tournaments this summer over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Here’s what Rafael Nadal thinks about that decision:

“I think it’s very unfair of my Russian tennis mates, my colleagues. In that sense its not their fault what’s happening in this moment with the war. In that sense, well, you know, talking about colleagues, I don’t know what to say I’m sorry for them. I wish it was not this way, but at the end of the day we know that this is what we have.

“From there onwards we will see what happens. Let’s see what happens in the next weeks, if the players will take some kind of decision in that regard. In that sense, well, there is one thing that’s negative, you know; there are things that are clear. When the government imposes some restrictions; you just have to follow them. In that case, the government gave a recommendation, and Wimbledon just took their decision, the more drastic position that they could take without taking into account the government didn’t force them to do it.

“So that makes that, you know, for our games, that we are in the organization, the ATP, of tennis players and tournaments, we are clear that the Grand Slams are out of all of it. But at the end of the day, it’s not less true that we are ATP, are the tournament that have the most points, right? They are the most important The 2,000 points, whenever we go to the Grand Slams, they are really important and we have to go to those tournaments.

“So we will have to see the measures that we take, and it’s very unfair thing for them, for sure. But unfortunately, I would say that in this moment, you know, being a very complicated situation for those Russian players, you know; there is a lot of things happening, Russia and Ukraine, and at the end of the day, what happens in our game is, you know, it doesn’t have any importance when we can see so many people dying and suffering and seeing the bad situation they are having in Ukraine, very serious.”


  1. We too are also very glad to hear that Rafa is returning. We have been long time fans of Rafa and tennis. However, we fully support all action against Russia and Belarus, because of their unprovoked brutal attack on Ukraine. We fully support the ban of athletes from Russia and Belarus, in support of the people of Ukraine.

    Rather than debating the fairness of tennis players being able to compete in an event, and discussing the significance of the points, we should be far more concerned about supporting those of Ukraine who have had their country brutally attacked, thousands of their men, women and children injured and killed, and their homes, businesses, and infrastructures destroyed.

    The focus of discussion and concern should be about the unprovoked brutal attack by Russia and Belarus on Ukraine, and to ensure we provide a strong consistent message against such atrocities, and provide our full support to Ukraine. This is not the time to be concerned about how such action is going to negatively impact individual opportunities to compete in sporting events. Tennis players are banned from competing in events for such things as foul language, banned substances, smashing their racquet, and not being vaccinated, and yet some think it is unfair to ban tennis players because their country has violently attacked another country?

    Seriously…we are hearing of Russia preventing thousands of people in Ukraine from having access to food, water, and medicine, millions becoming refugees, and thousands of children losing their parents. We are sure the Russian and Belarus athletes will manage fine without competing in events, how will the people of Ukraine manage without support.

    How would any of us feel if our Country was brutally attacked, our family and citizens killed, and our country destroyed, and yet others are having a debate about the fairness of banning athletes from the country that has caused this brutality?

    Show some genuine respect and support for those who deserve it… the PEOPLE of Ukraine.

  2. NO POLITICS IN SPORTS! PERIOD. I’m so sick of the sporting community thinking we want anything political in something we watch for our joy. I think Rafa is so smart and well spoken and sums the situation up as well as he can “on record.” We are living in a very troubling time. Just PLAY BALL and leave politics out of it!

    Will be sooo happy to see Rafa back on court in Madrid. THAT’S what matter to this girl! Vamos Rafa!

  3. I sympathise with the Russian and Belarusian players. It’s not their fault. And I don’t think it’s fair to expect them to speak out against a dictatorial regime – goodness knows what’s happened to poor Peng Shuai after she did that. However, I can see the concern that a Russian player winning Wimbledon would give Putin a big propaganda opportunity, especially as the trophy would be being presented by the Duchess of Cambridge. I don’t think that this has been handled very well by the LTA, though.

    • Please, see Sergiy Stackhovsky reply to an incomprehensible position. Former player and now soldier for his country. This is not politics. It’s a human atrocity for no reason that ALL should condemn.

      • He was replying to Andy Murray’s comment that it was unfair to ask players to condemn the war, when doing so would put their families back in Russia and Belarus at risk of punishment by the regime – as happened to Peng Shuai when she spoke out against the Chinese regime. I agree with Andy. It’s an impossible situation. Whatever anyone does is problematic.

  4. After much speculation about Rafa’s and Roger’s position on the Wimbledon issue and their apparent silence to date,, I’m glad that Rafa has spoken out and voiced his support for the Russian tennis players. It’s important that they get as much support as possible from their fellow players.

  5. Go Rafa. We are all so excited that you will be back. To me tennis isn’t the same when you are not playing. The best of luck to you…. because you are the best!

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