Russian-born tennis star Natela Dzalamidze avoids Wimbledon ban after switching nationality

1 week ago 12

NATELA DZALAMIDZE will play at Wimbledon after switching her international allegiance from Russia to Georgia.

The Moscow-born doubles specialist has represented her country of birth since debuting on the WTA Tour in 2015.

Natela Dzalamidze will play under the Georgian flagRex
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Dzalamidze, 29, was born in Moscow[/caption]

Following Wimbledon’s decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine, however, she has decided to switch her nationality.

Ranked 44 in the world in doubles, Dzalamidze will be able to compete at SW19 alongside partner Aleksandra Krunic of Serbia.

An All England Club spokesperson told SunSport: “‘Player nationality, defined as the flag they play under at professional events, is an agreed process that is governed by the Tours and the ITF.”

Following the Championships’ controversial decision, the ATP and WTA Tours elected to strip the event of ranking points.

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This has led Eugenie Bouchard to pull out of the competition, as the Canadian doesn’t want to waste one of her protected ranking tournament entries on a competition that cannot help her rebuild her ranking.

Dzalamidze, 29, was last in action at Roland Garros, where she was eliminated in the round of 64 alongside Kamila Rakhimova by seventh seeds Caroline Dolehide and Storm Sanders.

She won’t be the only Russian-born player in the draw at SW19.

Alexander Bublik, born in the Russian town Gatchina, has represented Kazakhstan since 2016.

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The 25-year-old big server competed at the Queen’s Club last week, and will play Frances Tiafoe in the LTA-run ATP 250 event in Eastbourne later today.

Wimbledon will be without a number of high-profile superstars this summer.

Men’s world No1 Daniil Medvedev will be absent, as well as No8 Andrey Rublev, No22 Karen Khachanov and Belarusian No40 Ilya Ivashka, among others.

Tennis bad boy Alexander Zverev will also be missing, after suffering an injury during his French Open semi-final against Rafael Nadal.

Belarusian stars Aryna Sabalenka and Victoria Azarenka will be missing from the women’s draw.

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While Daria Kasatkina leads a number of Russians that will also miss out.

Former world No1 and four-time Grand Slam winner Naomi Osaka will also be absent due to an Achilles injury.

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Alexander Bublik reached the second round at Queens last week[/caption]
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Belarusian world No6 Aryna Sabalenka leads the absentees from the SW19 womens’ draw[/caption]
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