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Chess great Kasparov flays tennis world No.1 Djokovic for his stance on Russian athletes

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London, April 27 (IANS) Garry Kasparov, the all-time great Russian chess grandmaster, has criticised world No.1 tennis player Novak Djokovic for supporting Russian athletes, saying that all those who do not condemn President Vladimir Putin’s “war of extermination in Ukraine are supporting it with silence”.

Serbia’s Djokovic, while speaking on the issue of the All England Club barring Russian and Belarusian players from competing at this year’s Wimbledon, said recently that while he condemns the war, the Wimbledon ban on tennis players from Russia and Belarus was unacceptable.

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“I will always condemn war. I will never support war being myself a child of war. I know how much emotional trauma it leaves. In Serbia we all know what happened in 1999. In the Balkans we have had many wars in recent history. However, I cannot support the decision of Wimbledon, I think it is crazy. When politics interferes with sport, the result is not good,” Djokovic said in Belgrade recently.

Kasparov took to twitter to remind Djokovic of the traumas of war faced by Serbia.

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“Russia may play by ranking, but they kill by nationality. Russian athletes who do not condemn Putin’s war of extermination in Ukraine are supporting it with silence. And a Serb failing to do so is especially inappropriate, considering history,” Kasparov, who was ranked world No.1 for a record 255 months overall for his career, tweeted.

Among the top players who will miss out on playing the Wimbledon include Russia’s world No. 2 Daniil Medvedev and Belarusian world No.4 women’s player Aryna Sabalenka, among others.

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The reason given by Wimbledon organisers to bar Russian players from competing this year is that, “In the circumstances of such unjustified and unprecedented military aggression by Russia, it would be unacceptable for the Russian regime to derive any benefits from the involvement of Russian or Belarusian players with ‘The Championships’.”

–IANS

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