In a move that highlights the stupidity of Wimbledon’s ban on Russian and Belarusian tennis players, one competitor has changed her nationality from Russian to Georgian and is now being allowed to compete again.
The Times of London reports that Natela Dzalamidze, a 29-year-old doubles player ranked No 44 in the world, managed to switch her nationality to Georgian before the deadline for registering to compete at the grand slam tournament in London.
The report further notes that the All England Club, the venue for Wimbledon, “insisted today that it had no involvement in Dzalamidze’s change of nationality,” and is powerless to stop her from competing.
The repot adds that “The verification process is conducted through the WTA and the ITFTennis.”
The report further notes that Dzalamidze was born in Moscow on February 27, 1993, and it isn’t clear what connection she has to Georgia.
Dzalamidze has said that she had already decided to change her nationality before Wimbledon announced the ban in April.
“I am definitely against the situation which is going on in Ukraine,” Dzalamidze told The Times, adding “I am for peace all around the world and I believe that in the 21st century people are able to find a diplomatic way to solve the problems.”
She added “I feel so disappointed for all other Russian sportspeople who are not competing, adding “Other than tennis and chess, most sports have banned Russians, which I think is super unfair because none of them have done anything.”
“This is not the mistake of professional athletes. As a sportsperson I have always had a close relationship with Ukrainians. People want to hear something from us but we do not have an influence on this situation,” the athlete continued.
As we previously highlighted, former world number one tennis player Daniil Medvedev will not be able to compete at Wimbledon. Medvedev was first threatened with exclusion by the British government from the tournament unless he denounced Vladimir Putin, despite already having said he is against the war.
Ukrainian tennis star Elina Svitolina also demanded that Russian and Belarusian players be subjected to ideological purity tests before they are allowed to compete in international tournaments.
The issue became a moot one as far as Wimbledon goes when the All England Club decided to impose a blanket ban on Russians and Belarusians.
The decision supersedes an earlier directive by tennis authorities the ITF, WTA and ATP which said that Russian and Belarusian players could continue to appear at tour events, but only as neutrals and without displaying national colors.
Fellow Russian top 30 men’s players Andrey Rublev, Karen Khachanov and Aslan Karatsev will also miss out, as will former women’s world number one Victoria Azarenka and current number four Aryna Sabalenka.
Medvedev himself warned that Wimbledon’s decision to ban all Russian and Belarusian players from this year’s tournament sets the precedent that sporting authorities can eliminate competitors for their political views.
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