Wimbledon’s ‘crazy’ decision to exclude Russian and Belarusian players has been slammed by Novak Djokovic, who says ‘politics shouldn’t interfere with sport.’

Novak Djokovic, the world number one, has criticised Wimbledon organizers for excluding Russian and Belarusian players from this year’s tournament in retaliation to Ukraine’s invasion.

The defending Wimbledon men’s singles champion, Novak Djokovic, said he ‘cannot endorse’ the action by the All England Club, adding that politics interfering with sport is ‘not good.’

The decision means that men’s world number two Daniil Medvedev will be unable to compete in the Grand Slam event, which will take place from June 27 to July 10.

Threats of legal action, as well as the potential loss of ranking points, have been leveled at Wimbledon as a result of many top 100 players being barred from competing.

‘I will always denounce war, and as a child of war, I will never endorse war,’ Djokovic stated during the Serbia Open.

‘I’m well aware of the emotional toll it takes. We all know what happened in Serbia in 1999. In recent history, there have been numerous wars in the Balkans.

‘However, I cannot support Wimbledon’s judgment; I believe it is irrational.’ When politics gets in the way of sports, it’s not a good thing.’

Former world number three Elina Svitolina of Ukraine, who reached the Wimbledon semi-finals three years ago, said that Russian and Belarusian players should be permitted to compete if they oppose Vladimir Putin’s war.

‘The ideal method is not to fully prohibit them, but to force them to talk about the war in Ukraine, to question them if they support the invasion, if they support the government,’ Svitolina told Sky News.

‘And if they can answer those questions and say they don’t support it [the conflict], Putin, or Lukashenko, then they will be permitted to join.’

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