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Wimbledon: Veronika Kudermetova to remove Russian sponsorship at Wimbledon

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Veronika Kudermetova
Kudermetova wore the sponsorship logo while playing in Madrid this week

Russian player Veronika Kudermetova, who is sponsored by one of the country’s oil and gas giants Tatneft, says she will be able to play at Wimbledon by removing the company’s logo from her kit.

The All England Club (AELTC) will allow Russians and Belarusians to compete this year as neutrals, if they agree not to show any public support for the invasion of Ukraine.

But the conditions also prohibit players receiving funding from either state.

This includes “sponsorship from companies operated or controlled by the state” – but only “in relation to their participation in The Championships”.

The conditions were drawn up by the AELTC and the Lawn Tennis Association in consultation with the UK government.

The European Union issued sanctions against Tatneft last June by freezing the company’s assets within the bloc.

“For the moment, I don’t break a rule,” Kudermetova said, having worn the Tatneft logo on her chest in a fourth-round victory over compatriot Daria Kasatkina at the Madrid Open.

“For Wimbledon, yes, I know we are not allowed to wear badges from our country. I agree with that, but for the moment I can wear that badge.”

The rules may be open to interpretation, but appear easy to circumvent by putting an unsuitable arrangement on hold for the few weeks of the grass-court season.

Kudermetova, 26, says she has already signed the personal declaration required of all Russians and Belarusians who wish to enter any UK grass-court events.

And she has done so on the understanding she will not wear any Tatneft branding.

“If I would like to play Wimbledon, I need to take the badge off,” she added.

There is nothing in the WTA rules to prevent the world number 13 playing in Madrid, or anywhere else on the tour, while carrying sponsorship by a Russian firm of this nature.

But individual tournaments have the right to take a similar stance to the All England Club and the LTA, and it is understood the WTA would support them in that eventuality.

Kudermetova also detailed how she previously had links with CSKA – the traditional sports club of the Russian armed forces.

“When I was young, I was practising there,” she said.

“It was my tennis club – when I was in Moscow I practised there, but for the moment I am not practising there.

“I don’t have a contract with them, I don’t have a salary from them – for the moment we are separate.”

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