Russian-born tennis player Natela Dzalamidze changed her nationality to Georgian to avoid Wimbledon’s ban on all Russian players following the country’s invasion of Ukraine.
The doubles specialist, ranked No. 43 in the world, is now officially listed as having Georgian nationality on the WTA website and is eligible to compete with her doubles partner Aleksandra Krunić of Serbia when Wimbledon begins on June 27.
After Wimbledon announced a ban on all Russian and Belarusian athletes in April, the ATP and WTA reacted by removing any ranking points the players would otherwise have earned for their performance at the All England Club.
Some of tennis’ biggest stars, including men’s world No. 1 Daniil Medvedev and women’s world No. 6 Aryna Sabalenka, will not be taking part in SW19.
In a statement to The Times, a Wimbledon spokesperson said they were unable to prevent Dzalamidze, who competed under the neutral flag at Roland Garros, from changing nationality.
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“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,” the spokesperson said.
The ban on Russian and Belarusian players has divided the tennis world, and last week the US Open announced that it would not follow Wimbledon’s lead later this year, with players from both countries eligible for compete under a neutral flag.