World number eight Andrey Rublev blasted Wimbledon’s ban on Russian and Belarusian players as “complete discrimination”

On Thursday and suggested organisers should instead donate tournament prize money to the victims of the conflict.

“What is happening now is complete discrimination against us.”

Wimbledon on Wednesday banned all Russian and Belarusian players from taking part in this year’s Grand Slam event in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The decision will see Rublev as well as compatriot and world number two Daniil Medvedev and women’s fourth-ranked Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus amongst those sitting out the June 27-July 10 tournament.

“Banning Russian or Belarusian players….will not change anything,” added Rublev who said redirecting Wimbledon’s £35 million ($45.6 million) prize fund would have a more positive effect.

“To give all the prize money to humanitarian help, to the families who are suffering, to the kids who are suffering, I think that would do something, at least a bit.

“Tennis will, in that case, be the first and only sport who donate that amount of money and it will be Wimbledon so they will take all the glory.”

World number one Novak Djokovic also hit out at the “crazy” decision by Wimbledon.

“I will always condemn war, I will never support war being myself a child of war,” Djokovic said in Belgrade on Wednesday. “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.

“The players, the tennis players, the athletes have nothing to do with it (war). When politics interferes with sport, the result is not good.”

The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC), which runs Wimbledon, said it was acting to “limit Russia’s global influence through the strongest means possible”.

But the ATP and WTA organisers have also criticised the ban, saying it was “unfair” and “very disappointing”

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