According to his former coach Nikola Pilic, tennis star Novak Djokovic could boycott Wimbledon this year after ‘crazy’ Boris Johnson decided to ban Russian and Belarusian players from competing.
The decision, which was taken following Vladimir Putin’s continued invasion of Ukraine, affects world No. 2 Daniil Medvedev.
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Last week, Wimbledon announced Russian and Belarusian players won’t be allowed to compete at Wimbledon.
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Some believe that the British government pushed the initiative to ban Russian and Belarusian players and that the Wimbledon organizers ultimately agreed to make that decision
MSN reports: One man who has shown his opposition to the banning is six-time champion Djokovic, claiming that the invasion ‘isn’t the athletes’ fault’. Speaking at last week’s Serbian Open, he said: “Ordinary people always suffer – we’ve had lots of wars in the Balkans. That being said, I cannot support the Wimbledon decision. It’s not the athletes’ fault. When politics interfere with sport, it usually doesn’t turn out well.”
Djokovic’s grievances were also echoed by his former coach Pilic, who slammed British Prime Minister Johnson following the SW19 decision. He told Ubitennis: “Boris Johnson is crazy! Rublev and Medvedev have nothing to do with Putin, they just want to play tennis just like everyone else.”
As a result, Pilic believes Djokovic and a number of other players could well boycott this summer’s tournament, just as he and his colleagues did back in 1973 after he was alleged to have refused to compete in the Davis Cup by the Yugoslav tennis federation. He added: “Politics has gone too far into sport and I think this situation could be very similar to that of ’73.
“In the sense, someone might say, ‘if these tennis players don’t play, we don’t play either!’ and, at that point, I’d be curious to see what Wimbledon’s reaction would be.” His former player Djokovic is also no stranger to controversy, as his refusal to get the COVID-19 vaccine saw him dramatically miss out on competing at this year’s Australian Open.
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