Russian changes nationality to avoid Wimbledon ban
A Russian tennis player has avoided a Wimbledon ban on all competitors from her country by changing her nationality to Georgian, according to a report in The Times newspaper.
Natela Dzalamidze, a 29-year-old doubles player ranked No 44 in the world, will compete in the women's doubles with Serbia's Aleksandra Krunic when the tournament starts on June 27.
Wimbledon organisers the All England Club announced in April that players from Russia and Belarus would be barred from competing this year following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
But an All England Club spokesman told The Times they were powerless to interfere in Dzalamidze's change of nationality, as this was a matter for the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) and the International Tennis Federation (ITF), and that she had satisfied the entry requirements.
"Player nationality, defined as the flag they play under at professional events, is an agreed process that is governed by tours and the ITF," the spokesman said.
Wimbledon's ban has ruled out a swathe of top players, including Daniil Medvedev, the men's world number one and the reigning US Open champion, as well as two-time major winner Victoria Azarenka.