Elina Svitolina, Ukraine’s highest-ranked skilled tennis participant, mentioned Russian and Belarusian athletes must be allowed to compete at Wimbledon in the event that they condemn President Vladimir Putin’s regime and the invasion of Ukraine.

Wimbledon’s host, the All England Garden Tennis Membership, on Wednesday banned players from the 2 nations from taking part in on this yr’s event. The British authorities had previously suggested that Russian gamers must denounce their authorities and Putin so as to compete.

“We don’t need them banned utterly,” Svitolina told BBC Radio 5 Live Breakfast on Thursday.

“If gamers don’t communicate out towards the Russian authorities, then it’s the proper factor to ban them,” she mentioned. “We simply need them to talk up if they’re with us and the remainder of the world or the Russian authorities.

“That is for me the principle level. In the event that they didn’t select, didn’t vote for this authorities, then it’s honest they need to be allowed to play and compete.”

Svitolina, a two-time Grand Slam semifinalist who has been ranked as excessive as No. 3 on this planet, issued a press release on social media Wednesday urging the tennis governing our bodies ATP, WTA and ITF to ask all Russian and Belarusian gamers to make their stance on the invasion clear.

She demanded they reply three questions: “1. Do you assist Russia’s and Belarus invasion in Ukraine’s territory and because of that the struggle began by these nations? 2. Do you assist Russia’s and Belarus army actions in Ukraine? 3. Do you assist Putin’s and Lukashenko’s regime?”

“There comes a time when silence is betrayal, and that point is now,” she wrote.

Tennis legends Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova and Novak Djokovic have mentioned they don’t assist Wimbledon’s choice.

“I believe it’s loopy. When politics interferes with sport, the consequence will not be good,” mentioned Djokovic, the No. 1 males’s participant, who’s from Serbia.