Tennis player Natela Dzalamidze has switched her nationality from Russian to Georgian to avoid being banned from Wimbledon following the imposed ban on all Russian players following the invasion of Ukraine.
Dzalamidze is officially listed as having Georgian citizenship on the WTA website and will be eligible to participate in the Wimbledon doubles competition on June 27 with partner Aleksandra Krunic of Serbia.
In response to Wimbledon’s announcement in April banning all Russian and Belarusian athletes, the ATP and WTA removed all rankings points players would have otherwise earned for their performances at All England Club.
Several of tennis’ biggest stars won’t compete at SW19, including men’s world no. 1 Daniil Medvedev and women’s world no. 6 Aryna Sabalenka.
A Wimbledon spokeswoman told The Times that they could not prevent Dzalamidze, who participated under the neutral flag at the French Open, from changing her nationality.
“Player nationality, defined as the flag they play under at professional events, is an agreed process that the Tours and the ITF govern,” the spokesperson said.
The US Open announced last week that it would not follow Wimbledon’s example and allow players from both countries to compete under a neutral flag later this year.