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Billie Jean King urges Wimbledon to end player bans

Oct 29, 2022; Washington, D.C., USA; Billie Jean King reacts with fans before the game between Kansas City Current and Portland Thorns FC at Audi Field. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Saying “life is too short,” tennis legend Billie Jean King on Wednesday called on Wimbledon to end its ban on players from Russia and Belarus.

Players from both nations were barred from the major event last year over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. As a result, the ATP and WTA penalized Wimbledon by stripping ranking points from the tournament.

The All England Club is mulling whether to ban players from Russia and Belarus again this year.

“Just keep it the same way as the other ones are. Life is too short,” King, 79, who has 12 Grand Slam singles titles, told reporters at the Australian Open on Wednesday. “I think they should get prize money. Just have them play and get their money.”

Players from Belarus and Russia are competing at the Australian Open under a neutral white flag as independents.

Two Belarusians — Victoria Azarenka and Aryna Sabelenka — are in the semifinals and could meet in the title match on Saturday.

–Field Level Media