The head of the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC), which hosts Wimbledon, said it has appealed against a fine from the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) for banning Russian and Belarusian players from the tournament.
The WTA has fined the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) and the AELTC £620,000 (€720,000) and £207,000 (€204,300) respectively for excluding Russian and Belarusian players from warm-up competitions in Eastbourne, Nottingham and Birmingham, according to the Daily Mail.
AELTC chief executive Sally Bolton told reporters on Monday the organisation is “deeply disappointed” by the tour’s reaction to its decision to impose the ban.
Asked about the fines, she said: “I think the first thing to say is that it is the subject of a legal process, so I can’t comment specifically on that.
However, she added: “We stand by the decision we made, we are deeply disappointed at the reactions of the tours to that decision and I probably can’t say anything more on that at this time, I’m afraid.
Asked if the AELTC would appeal, she said: “Yes, we have appealed.”
Ms Bolton said the AELTC is waiting to hear from the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) on its decision on whether or not to fine the Championships over the ban.
Asked about whether it will be the AELTC or the LTA who pays the fines, Ms Bolton said: “We are separate organisations and we have been fined separately so we are addressing it separately, but it is subject to a legal process so I can’t say anymore.”
She later added: “We thought really, really long and hard about that decision. It was an incredibly difficult and challenging decision to make.
“It was not one we took lightly. We thought carefully about the ramifications of taking it.
“But it was absolutely the right decision for us. It was the only viable option in the context of the government guidance in place and we stand by that decision.
“We accept that others will take a different view, but we absolutely stand by that decision.”
Britain’s culture secretary Nadine Dorries said Wimbledon “should be praised” for the decision and that the international tennis federations “appear determined to be outcasts” over the issue.
She said: “Since February, the vast majority of the international sporting community have come together in solidarity to condemn (Russian president Vladimir) Putin’s barbaric actions in Ukraine, which are continuing to have devastating consequences to human life.
“Regrettably, the international tennis federations appear determined to be outcasts in this.
“The LTA and Wimbledon should be praised for their move to make Russia an international sporting pariah, and doing what is right in the current circumstances.”
Earlier this year, both the WTA and ATP criticised Wimbledon’s decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players.
They held meetings in Madrid in April to decide how to react.
The ATP, WTA, and International Tennis Federation all announced in May that the governing bodies will not award ranking points for the upcoming Wimbledon Championships in response to the ban.
PA has contacted the WTA for comment.