Novak Djokovic criticized Wimbledon’s decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players over the invasion of Ukraine as “crazy.”
The Grand Slam on Wednesday became the first tennis tournament to ban competitors from the two countries following the Kremlin-led invasion that Russia and its ally Belarus call “a special operation.”
That decision means that the men’s world No. 2 Daniil Medvedev of Russia and the women’s No. 4 Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus won’t be able to participate in the tournament that starts June 27.
“I will never support war because as a child of war I know how much emotional trauma it inflicts,” Djokovic, the world’s No. 1-ranked men’s player, told reporters at a Serbia Open event in Belgrade on Wednesday. “But I cannot support Wimbledon’s decision. It is crazy.”
Djokovic, who grew up in Belgrade during the wars that broke up the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s, is the defending Wimbledon men’s singles champion.