This year, with the war in Ukraine in the background, Russian tennis players were barred from competing at Wimbledon - and a Russian-born tennis player won the Women's Singles, representing Kazakhstan.
In April, the All England Club decided to ban both Russian and Belarussian players in response to the war, a move that was decried by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) and the Women's Tennis Association (WTA). “It is with great regret and reluctance that we see no option but to remove ATP Ranking points from Wimbledon for 2022,” the ATP stated in response. “Our rules and agreements exist in order to protect the rights of players as a whole. Unilateral decisions of this nature, if unaddressed, set a damaging precedent for the rest of the Tour.”
The WTA also condemned the decision, stating that individual athletes “should not be penalised or prevented from competing solely because of their nationalities or the decisions made by the governments of their countries.”
They were not alone; several prominent tennis players also opposed the move, including Serbia’s Novak Djokovic who called the decision “crazy,” and Spain's Rafael Nadal who said it was not a player's fault “what happening in this moment with the war.”
In the end, it was a quasi-pyrrhic victory for the All England Club when Russian-born Elena Rybakina, representing Kazakhstan, won the Women's Singles, the first time ever the country won the title. Presenting the trophy to Rybakina was the Duchess of Cambridge.