Novak Djokovic returns a ball to Serbia's Laslo Djere during their tennis single match at Serbia Tennis Open in Belgrade on Wednesday. AFP
Wimbledon announced on Wednesday that it had barred all Russian and Belarusian players from this year's championships due to the invasion, which Russia calls a "special operation."
The grasscourt Grand Slam is the first tennis tournament to ban individual competitors from the two countries, meaning men's world number two Daniil Medvedev from Russia and women's fourth-ranked Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus will be banned from the June 27-July 10 tournament.
Novak Djokovic looks at Serbia's Laslo Djere during their tennis single match at Serbia Tennis Open. AFP
Djokovic, who grew up in war-torn Serbia, said the athletes had nothing to do with the ongoing conflict.
"I will always condemn war, I will never support war being myself a child of war," Djokovic told reporters at the Serbia Open, an ATP 250 event in Belgrade.
"I know how much emotional trauma it leaves. In Serbia we all know what happened in 1999. In the Balkans we have had many wars in recent history. "However, I cannot support the decision of Wimbledon, I think it is crazy. "When politics interferes with sport, the result is not good."
The All England Lawn Tennis Club's (AELTC) decision has been criticised by the ATP and WTA tours.
The move is the first time players have been banned on the grounds of nationality since the immediate post-World War Two era when German and Japanese players were excluded.
The AELTC said it would "consider and respond accordingly" if circumstances change between now and June.
"For months I have been working with my team on a charity initiative for Ukraine to support those who suffer because of the war," French Open champion Swiatek said in a statement on social media on Wednesday.
Roger Federer moved into the fourth round of a Grand Slam tournament for the 69th time on Saturday, overcoming a raucous home crowd and the last British man
Wimbledon is set to start in London on June 29, but the continuing spread of the virus has caused havoc with the sporting schedule and the grass-court Grand Slam could be the next major event to be delayed.
Speaking to the BBC, the 20-time Grand Slam champion said he is still not vaccinated against COVID-19. That status also led to his January deportation from Australia, where he lost his bid to stay in the country to defend his Australian Open title.
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