Natela Dzalamidze: tennis player from Russia changed citizenship to avoid disqualification at Wimbledon

Doubles specialist, runner-up. 43rd in the world, now officially listed as having Georgian citizenship on the WTA website, and eligible to compete with doubles partner Alexandra Krunic of Serbia when Wimbledon will start June 27th.

After Wimbledon announced a ban on all Russian and Belarusian athletes back in April, the ATP and WTA responded by removing all ranking points the players would otherwise have earned for their performance in the All England Club.

Some of tennis’s biggest stars, including the men’s world number one. Daniil Medvedev and the first racket of the world among women. 6 Arina Sobolenko will not participate in SW19.

In a statement released TimeA spokesman for Wimbledon said they were unable to prevent Dzalamidze, who competed under a neutral flag at the French Open, from changing her nationality.

“A player’s nationality, defined as the flag under which they play at professional events, is an agreed process that is governed by the Tour and the ITF,” a spokesperson said.

The ban on Russian and Belarusian players has divided the tennis world, and last week the US Open announced it would not follow Wimbledon’s lead this year, with players from both countries eligible to compete under a neutral flag.