Russian chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov criticized world number one Novak Djokovic for his support of Russian athletes, saying the Serb should be better informed as he is a child of war.
Last Wednesday, Wimbledon announced the banning of Russian and Belarusian tennis players. Djokovic, a 20-time Grand Slam champion, said that he condemned the war but also added that he could not understand how Russian athletes affect what is happening in Ukraine.
“Russia can play by classification, but it kills by nationality. Russian athletes who do not condemn Putin’s war of extermination in Ukraine support it with their silence.
And a Serb who doesn’t is particularly inappropriate, given history,” Kasparov tweeted.
Djokovic on Wimbledon decision
“I don’t support that, I grew up with sanctions, I know what it feels like when the world sees you differently, because a bad image has been created,” Djokovic said.
“I was a victim of this, like many Serbs. I am a child of war, I know what it is to lose loved ones, some still suffer from all this. I will always be against this.”
Politics exists in sport, we have political structures in the organization. I’m talking about higher levels of political interference. I stand by what I said. There is no need to suspend an athlete, not just a tennis player.
I don’t see how they affect the war. We have a rule in tennis about the prohibition of discrimination, which speaks of the classification rule without nationality. Wimbledon violated this rule, the ATP ruled.”
The Wimbledon decision means some of the biggest names in tennis will not compete at the All England Club this year. On the men’s side, Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev, Karen Khachanov and Aslan Karatsev will be absent from the championship.
Likewise, Aryna Sabalenka, Victoria Azarenka, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Daria Kasatkina will not participate in the women’s event.