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Wimbledon to cover accommodation costs for Ukrainian tennis players

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Wimbledon will cover accommodation costs for Ukrainian tennis players competing at this year’s tournament, organizers announced on Tuesday.

The funding will cover the cost of two rooms for all main draw and qualifying players for the entirety of the grass court season, which includes ATP and WTA Tour competitions in the weeks before Wimbledon, as well as the grand slam itself.

According to Ian Hewitt, Chairman of the All England Club, those players will be given the chance to practice at courts in Wimbledon or nearby Surbiton between the end of their French Open campaigns and the start of qualifying week at Wimbledon.

Hewitt also said that one pound (about $1.24) for every ticketholder at the tournament will be donated to relief efforts in Ukraine, amounting to more than £500,000 (around $620,000), while 1,000 Ukrainian refugees will also be invited to the championships for a day.

Last month, organizers announced that Russian and Belarusian players would be able to participate at Wimbledon as “neutrals” having been barred from competing last year amid the war in Ukraine.

“It was a difficult and challenging decision, which was made with the full support of our UK Government and the international stakeholder bodies in tennis, but does not lessen in any way our total condemnation of Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine,” Hewitt said on Tuesday.

In order to compete, Belarusian and Russian players cannot express support for the invasion of Ukraine in various forms and are prohibited from receiving funding from either country – including sponsorship from companies operated or controlled by those states – in relation to their participation at Wimbledon.

When asked if it was expected all Belarusian and Russian players would sign the declaration agreeing to those terms, All England Lawn Tennis Club chief executive Sally Bolton declined to give a figure, saying: “We have a number of players who are in the process of signing or have signed, and it would be hard to say where we finally end up.”

Terms for entry to the Wimbledon grounds have also been updated this year. Russian and Belarusian flags will be prohibited, while any symbols or signs of support for the war or for either the Russian or Belarusian regime won’t be allowed.

Bolton said that the tournament won’t be shown in Russia or Belarus and that Russian media will not be welcome at this year’s event.

Wimbledon, the third grand slam of the calendar year, runs from July 3 to 16.

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