The ongoing and painstaking war in Ukraine instigated by Russia is continuing to cause public outrage on a global scale.
With innocent lives being lost on a daily basis, the public opinion of Russia as a country has never been so divided and significant sporting institutions are making moves to punish Russia for their actions.
As the world’s flagship tennis tournament, Wimbledon has stepped up a gear, by reflecting the UK’s hard line on the war in Ukraine by banning all Russian and Belarussian tennis players from the Championships in 2022.
So far, only a handful of Russian and Belarussian tennis players have publicly denounced the war, and whilst none have supported Vladimir Putin’s quest, the jury remains out on whether Russian and Belarussian athletes should be taking part in global sporting events.
In next month’s French Open, there have no rules or regulations set out by event organizers, suggesting that it is just the UK that is taking the hard line in banning all athletes, depending on their place of birth.
This decision is of course a moral quandary, that will surely rage on through pundits and public forums alike, but the brass tacks is that there are many big-name players that are set to miss out on the chance to compete at SW19.
In the men’s game, world number 2 Daniil Medvedev looks set to miss out on a chance to add to his growing Grand Slam collection, and whilst he has no form to call upon on grass, his presence will be missed in the draw, and he carries the hopes of a nation in most events he plays.
His compatriot Andrey Rublev is also operating in the top 10 in the world and with a run to the 4th round in the tank last season, he too would have fancied a decent go at the title in West London this year.
Elsewhere, the likes of Karen Khachanov and Aslan Karatsev would have also been serious outside candidates at Wimbledon 2022, and they look set to have to wait for another opportunity to compete on the hallowed turf in the future.
In the women’s game, there perhaps aren’t as many out and out candidates for glory from Russia, with Veronika Kudermetova and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova floating about in the world’s top 32, and they, along with the other Russian women in the drawing look set to miss out on the privileges Wimbledon offer.
Belarus will be hit harder if the ban is upheld, with Aryna Sabalanka and Victoria Azarenka two women who are certainly capable of lifting the crown if they could piece together a strong couple of weeks but their countries’ involvement with the raging war continues to restrict them on a global scale.
With many big names set to miss out, world number one Novak Djokovic remains the favorite for glory in West London at 6/5, with Rafael Nadal and Matteo Berrettini sure to be in the mix at 8/1 and 9/1 respectively. The betting on tennis can be compared with the betting amounts wagered on the top horse races, says a spokesperson of Horse.bet. For example, bookmaker OpenBet powers a half-billion transactions during the 2022 Cheltenham Horse Racing Festival
In the women’s game this tennis season, a similar picture of huge betting volumes is painted with world number one Iga Swiatek the hot favorite at 5/1, whilst former champion Simona Halep comes in at 12/1 – the same price as homegrown hero Emma Raducanu who had a great run at the Championships last year, before going on to win the US Open.