'I can't say I disagree' - Shriver on Wimbledon's move to ban Russian and Belarusian players

By Sports Desk June 24, 2022

Former Wimbledon doubles champion Pam Shriver has said she does not disagree with the decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players from this year's tournament.

Shriver landed 21 women's doubles grand slam titles, of which 20 came in partnership with Martina Navratilova, and 112 career doubles titles in all, and she also claimed 21 singles tournament wins.

Russian and Belarusian players have been banned from this year's Wimbledon due to the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Speaking to Stats Perform, Shriver – who won five women's doubles championships with Navratilova at Wimbledon – said while she did not like that it was a decision that needed to be made, she did not object to it.

"War is messy, right? War is tragic. It's been a horror show for Ukrainian people," said American Shriver. "And there's a lot of Ukrainian professional tennis players that are just living through hell.

"Obviously, the decision has been made to try and have the tightest of sanctions. So when you think about the industry of pro tennis, if we're going to have sanctions as well, then Wimbledon [should too], and I understand the UK government has put some pressure throughout the country to not do business with Russians during this time.

"I wish they had never had to make the decision, but I think under the circumstances, I can't say I disagree [with it]."

Shriver also said the decision from the ATP, WTA and ITF to remove ranking points from this year's tournament was "really unfortunate".

However, she does not believe it will make Wimbledon seem like an exhibition, saying: "It's not an exhibition because of the prize money and because of the prestige of winning a Wimbledon title.

"Those are actually the two main things. I think the points are third, and so you're missing the third most important aspect, but the prize money is huge, and [the tournament] will be just as prestigious as ever."

As a result of the ban on Russian players, men's world number one Daniil Medvedev will not be in attendance at SW19, but Shriver does not think it will diminish the competition.

"You know, maybe some years it would [be a problem that Medvedev is not there] but... you're going to have the number one seed being [Novak] Djokovic and number two seed being [Rafael] Nadal," she said.

"When you have the player who has more majors than anybody else ever in the men's game at 22, Rafa, and you have Novak trying to win his fourth straight Wimbledon and his seventh overall and trying to chase Rafa's 22, I think that's going to hide the fact we don't have a number one.

"It's going to be an unusual year to not have rankings one and two [Medvedev and the injured Alexander Zverev], but I feel like the names on the men's side, [Carlos] Alcaraz, [Matteo] Berrettini, [Hubert] Hurkacz got to the semis last year, the two Canadian guys [Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov].

"I feel like there's still such great depth and with Rafa and Novak leading the way, it's fine."

Related items

  • Carreno-Busta mounts comeback to stun Hurkacz in Canadian Open final Carreno-Busta mounts comeback to stun Hurkacz in Canadian Open final

    Pablo Carreno-Busta came back from a set down to mount a superb comeback against Hubert Hurkacz and win the first ATP 1000 event of his career on Sunday.

    The Spaniard became the first unseeded player to win the tournament since Guilhermo Canas in 2002 after weathering an early storm to shock the eighth seed 3-6 6-3 6-3 in Montreal.

    Having come through a gruelling semi-final encounter with Dan Evans to reach his first ATP 1000 final in singles, the Tokyo 2020 bronze medallist struggled to deal with his opponent's impressive slew of aces in the first set, and saw his serve broken in the sixth game.

    But a ruthless start to the second set saw Carreno-Busta break early, racing out to a 3-0 lead and holding his nerve to keep the gap to his Polish opponent, who was chasing a second ATP 1000 crown.

    World number 10 Hurkacz attempted to rally with a fine start to the third set, but another loss of serve effectively stalled his momentum and Carreno-Busta was able to take the victory.

    The result marks a much-needed boost for Carreno-Busta, who suffered first-round exits at the French Open and Wimbledon after making the last-16 in Australia, with the U.S. Open set to start later this month.

  • Nadal hails Williams as 'one of the greatest of all-time' Nadal hails Williams as 'one of the greatest of all-time'

    Serena Williams is "one of the greatest of all time", says fellow tennis legend Rafael Nadal as the 23-time grand slam winner prepares to hang up her racquet.

    The 40-year-old, one of the most decorated players in the history of the sport, signalled her intent to "evolve away" from the game in an interview with Vogue Magazine earlier this month, hinting at her retirement following the U.S. Open in September.

    With just shy of two-dozen grand slam singles titles, Williams trails only Margaret Court for the all-time record of 24 crowns, and could equal her in her farewell appearance.

    Nadal, meanwhile, lies one behind her after victory in the Australian Open and French Open this year took him clear of Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer to 22, though the former's win at Wimbledon has seen him close the gap again.

    The duo are set to feature at this week's Western and Southern Open, where Williams will face incumbent U.S. Open champion Emma Raducanu, and the Spaniard - who will mark his return from injury - has nothing but praise for his fellow giant of the game.

    "She is one of the greatest sports [people] of all time," he stated. "I feel lucky to share a tour for a long period of time with her.

    "Of course, from a selfish point of view, it's sad that she's leaving the tour but, on the other hand, we can't thank her enough for all the things that she did for our sport.

    "I think she's an amazing inspiration for a lot of people around the world and I think she deserves to choose whatever works for her better at this stage of her life.

    "So I wish her all the best. Hopefully, we can keep seeing her around the tour because I always believe that our sport, or the sport in general, is bigger and better when legends are around and she is a legend.

    "Hopefully, we can enjoy her in a different way around the tour."

    Nadal was forced to withdraw ahead of the Wimbledon semi-finals earlier this year with an abdominal tear, and now faces a potentially nervy run through to the U.S. Open in terms of fitness.

    But the 36-year-old is cautiously optimistic, adding: "I hope to be ready. That's what I'm trying to do. Try to be a little more conservative, but I hope I can be ready to play.

    "Of course, I need some more days to analyse how things are going in terms of abdominal feeling.

    "But things are going well for the moment, so hopefully I can manage to be ready. I'm excited. I want to play tennis again on the tour. I'm having a good season, I'm enjoying it, so I want to enjoy this week in Cincinnati."

  • Halep defeats Haddad Maia in Canada Open final Halep defeats Haddad Maia in Canada Open final

    Simona Halep secured victory against Beatriz Haddad Maia in the Canada Open final on Sunday, though was given a tougher test than she had otherwise experienced throughout the tournament.

    The Romanian was a 6-3 2-6 6-3 victor, dropping a set for only the second time in the week, but standing firm in the clash that clocked in at over two hours.

    That meant records for Haddad Maia, who has played the most WTA-level matches with three sets in 2022 (20) and spent over 12-and-a-half hours on the court at the Canada Open in 2022, more than any other player in a single WTA tournament this year.

    Wimbledon semi-finalist Halep proved to be a step too far for the Brazilian, however, with the win marking her most significant honour since winning in Rome in 2020.

    It was far from a vintage performance from the 30-year-old, who had nine double-faults in the match compared to Haddad Maia's two and left the door open for the South American - who was vying for victory in her first ever WTA 1000 event.

    Halep had already clinched a return to the world top 10 by reaching the final in Toronto, the first time since her 373-week stint ended just over a week ago - which led to admissions that she considered calling it quits amid her decline.

    A valiant comeback in 2022 has been one of the major stories of the calendar year though and, on the back of victory in Canada and a semi-final march at Wimbledon, will have high hopes for the U.S. Open.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.