Fears of a Putin propaganda coup at Wimbledon: Princess of Wales will hand coveted trophy to both men and women’s singles champions – setting up a potential photo op with Russian and Belarusian players as the war in Ukraine rages on
The Princess of Wales is willing to present Russian tennis champions with Wimbledon trophies this summer amid Putin’s war in Ukraine.
Continuing her tradition of presenting the singles trophies as the All England Club’s patron, sources say she will hand over silverware to any winner, regardless of their nationality.
It comes as organisers are expected to lift a ban on players from Russia and Belarus entering the tournament.
Under the new rules, players from both countries will be allowed to play as neutral competitors with no mention of where they are from.
According to Palace sources, the princess sees this as a matter for Wimbledon and she will give the trophy to whoever they allow to receive it.
Sources say that, like in previous years (the Princess of Wales pictured in 2022 with Novak Djokovic) Kate will present the trophy – including to Russian and Belarusian players
The Princess of Wales (left) pictured with her eldest son, Prince George, at Wimbledon in July 2022
Wimbledon favourite, World No 2 Aryna Sabalenka – who is from Belarus – said after winning the Australian Open that ‘everyone knows I am still a Belarusian player’
This has sparked fears from some club officials that, as one of the highest-profile members of the Royal Family, images of the princess congratulating a winner from Russia or Belarus could be used for propaganda.
It is understood Kate will this year attend the women’s singles final on July 15 and the men’s singles final the following day.
World No 2 Aryna Sabalenka from Belarus is currently the bookmaker’s third-favourite, after she became tennis’s first neutral grand-slam singles champion at January’s Australian Open.
Speaking after this win, Sabalenka said: ‘I think everyone still knows I’m a Belarusian player, and that’s it.’
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