'Very unfair': Rafa Nadal lashes out over shock Wimbledon ban

Rafa Nadal (pictured) speaking during a press conference at the Madrid Open.
Rafa Nadal (pictured) has publicly opposed Wimbledon's ban against Russian and Belarusian players from the 2022 grand slam. (Getty Images)

Rafa Nadal has broken his silence and called out Wimbledon for its controversial ban on Russian and Belarusian players due to the invasion of Ukraine.

Recently, Novak Djokovic and a host of other players have questioned the All England Club's decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players from competing in 2022.

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The ban will see Russian players such as ATP World No.2 Daniil Medvedev and World No.8 Andrey Rublev miss out.

French Open runner-up Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova is banned, along with Belarusians WTA World No.4 Aryna Sabalenka and Victoria Azarenka.

And the decision has also baffled Nadal with the two-time Wimbledon champion feeling sorry for some of his peers.

“I think it’s very unfair of (on) my Russian tennis mates, my colleagues ... it’s not their fault what’s happening in this moment with the war,” Nadal said ahead of his Madrid Open campaign.

“I’m sorry for them," added.

“Wimbledon just took their decision ... the government didn’t force them to do it."

Nadal admitted further action from the players could be considered in the near future.

“Let’s see what happens in the next weeks, if the players will take some kind of decision in that regard," Nadal added.

Backlash to Novak Djokovic's Wimbledon comments

While some top players have hit out at Wimbledon's decision, not all people are against the ban.

Djokovic said as a child of war, he understands the anger going around but still opposed the ban.

"I will always be the first one to condemn war, as a child of war I know what kind of emotional trauma a war leaves, us in Serbia we know what was happening here in 1999,” Djokovic told reporters at the Serbia Open last week.

“Ordinary people always suffer, we’ve had lots of wars in the Balkans.

Novak Djokovic (pictured) speaks at a press conference during the Mutua Madrid Open 2022.
Novak Djokovic (pictured) hit out at Wimbledon's ban on Russian and Belarusian players from the 2022 grand slam. (Photo By Oscar J. Barroso/Europa Press via Getty Images) (Europa Press Sports via Getty Images)

"That being said I cannot support the Wimbledon decision."

But according to Russian chess grand master Garry Kasparov, who has been vocal in his opposition of the war, Djokovic should have used his platform to condemn Putin and Russia.

“Russia may play by ranking, but they kill by nationality,” the chess grandmaster wrote in response to Djokovic's comments, describing them as "inappropriate".

“Russian athletes who do not condemn Putin’s war of extermination in Ukraine are supporting it with silence.

“And a Serb failing to do so is especially inappropriate considering history.”

Ukraine tennis star Marta Kostyuk recently let rip at her Russian and Belarusian rivals who have not publicly opposed the war back in her home country.

Kostyuk recently said in a tweet that Wimbledon had nothing to gain from banning players and unless Russians condemned Putin and the war, other tournaments should follow their actions.

"As we can all see, Wimbledon definitely didn’t get any gain so far and is facing a lot of difficulties."

"Nothing personal, but I hope other tournaments will act the same. Unless players speak out. Thank you."

The ATP and WTA tennis tours have both publicly criticised the All England Club’s decision which was announced April 20.

Wimbledon starts on June 27.

with AAP

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