By HOWARD FENDRICH
AP Tennis Writer
WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — The All England Club is appealing a fine levied by the WTA women’s professional tennis tour for banning Russian and Belarusian players from tournaments in Britain because of the war in Ukraine.
The Lawn Tennis Association — the British federation for the sport — also is expected to appeal a financial penalty imposed by the WTA after no players from Russia or Belarus were allowed to take part in grass-court tuneup events last month at Eastbourne, Nottingham and Birmingham.
The fines, totaling $1 million, were first reported by The Daily Mail. The newspaper said the LTA was docked $750,000, and the All England Club $250,000.
“It’s the subject of a legal process, so I can’t comment specifically on that,” All England Club CEO Sally Bolton said Monday. “We stand by the decision we made. We’re deeply disappointed at the reaction of the tours to that decision, and I probably can’t say any more than that at this point in time, I’m afraid.”
Bolton said the club appealed its WTA fine. As for whether the ATP men’s tour also assessed a penalty, she said: “We’re still waiting to hear from them.”
The club announced in April that, following guidance from the British government, athletes from Russia and Belarus would not be allowed to compete at Wimbledon this year, which kept out such players as the No. 1-ranked man, reigning U.S. Open champion Daniil Medvedev, and two-time major champion Victoria Azarenka.
In response, the WTA and ATP took the unprecedented step of saying they would not award rankings points to any players at the grass-court Grand Slam tournament, which began last week and is scheduled to end on Sunday.
“It was an incredibly difficult and challenging decision to make. It was not one we took lightly. We thought carefully about the ramifications of taking it. But it was absolutely the right decision for us. It was the only viable option in the context of the government guidance in place. And we stand by that decision,” Bolton said. “We accept that others will take a different view, but we absolutely stand by the decision.”
Spokespersons for the two tours did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
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