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Russian tennis player changes nationality to Georgian to play in Wimbledon after ban

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The Russian-born tennis player officially changed her citizenship to Georgian in order to compete at Wimbledon later this month.

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Doubles star Natela Dzalamidze, currently ranked 43rd in the world rankings, is now listed under the Georgian flag on the WTA website. The move comes after Wimbledon banned all Russian and Belarusian players from this year’s Grand Slams due to their invasion of Ukraine.

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Dzalamidze competed at the French Open under a neutral flag. Although she was born in Moscow, the WTA stated that Dzalamidze provided a Georgian passport as she holds dual citizenship.

“Players’ nationality, defined as the flag under which they play at professional events, is an agreed process governed by the Tour and the ITF,” a Wimbledon spokesperson said in a statement to The Times. .

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The All England club first announced in April that it would ban all players from Russia and Belarus from the tournament later this month in response to the war in Ukraine that is still ongoing. Although the tournament was one of several that responded with similar sanctions as a result of the Russian invasion, it faced significant backlash.

As a result, the WTA and ATP Tours have decided not to award ranking points to Wimbledon this year.

The ban will prevent several big names from attending, including top male player Daniil Medvedev and sixth-placed female player Arina Sobolenko.

Dzalamidze played Kazakh Alexander Bublik at the French Open in mixed doubles and Kamilla Rakhimova in women’s doubles, but both teams lost in the first round.

Wimbledon starts June 27th.

Russian Natela Dzalamidze
A native of Russia, Natela Dzalamidze will compete at Wimbledon under the flag of Georgia. (Onur Aoban/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)



Source: sports.yahoo.com

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