Wimbledon powerless as Russian player changes nationality to avoid ban | Tennis | sport

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Wimbledon have admitted they were powerless to prevent a Russian doubles star from changing nationality to compete in the championships. Russian and Belarusian players like world No. 1 Daniil Medvedev are banned this year following the invasion of Ukraine

Natela Dzalamidze was born in Moscow and competed in the French Open under the neutral flag as a Russian athlete. But the doubles world No. 44, who held her pre-season training block in Kyiv, has now changed to represent Georgia and will be able to play SW19.

A statement from the All England Club said: “The nationality of players, defined as the flag under which they play at professional events, is an agreed process which is governed by the Tours and the ITF.”

Wimbledon are due to allow players to practice on Center Court and No. 1 Court for the first time this week to avoid injuries in the early rounds. Board member Tim Henman said the goal was to “play in” courts that have proven to be slippery in the past.

Serena Williams twisted her ankle in her opening round match on center court last year and is only making her comeback this week.

The American superstar, 40, will play doubles at Rothesay International Eastbourne with Ons Jabeur before returning his singles as a wildcard at SW19.

And Spain’s Paula Badosa, the Eastbourne seed, said: “It’s very good to have her back and it really amazes me to see how much she has this thirst for the game, so I think it’s She’s very inspiring. She’s very good at tennis.

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