Russia-born Natela Dzalamidze says she chose to change nationality to Georgian BEFORE Wimbledon ban
‘My decision was made because I’m focusing on my career’: Russian-born doubles player Natela Dzalamidze says she decided to change nationality to Georgian BEFORE Wimbledon banned all Russian players from this year’s tournament
- Russian-born doubles player Natela Dzalamidze is playing at Wimbledon this month
- The 29-year-old’s change of nationality to Georgian was approved on June 6.
- The All England Club has banned all Russian and Belarusian players this year
- Dzalamidze claims her decision to change countries was made before the ban
- She was born to a Georgian father and has had a Georgian passport for six years
Russian-born doubles player Natela Dzalamidze claims she chose to change Georgian nationality before Wimbledon announced that all Russian and Belarusian players would be banned from this year’s tournament.
The All England Club’s stance – taken in light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine – has resulted in the tournament running out of ranking points.
But Dzalamidze, who ranks 43rd in the world in women’s doubles and participated in the French Open last month under a neutral flag, has evaded the ban.
Russian-born Natela Dzalamidze plays at Wimbledon after changing nationality to Georgian
The 29-year-old is listed as Georgian on the Wimbledon entry list after her move was approved by the WTA on June 6, seven days before the SW19 entry deadline.
She was born to a Russian mother and Georgian father and has held a Georgian passport for the past six years.
“I am absolutely against the situation in Ukraine,” said Dzalamidze The times† “I am for peace around the world and I believe that in the 21st century people can find a diplomatic way to solve the problems.
“But my decision was made because I am focused on my career and would like to have the chance to compete in the Olympics.
Serbia’s 29-year-old partner Aleksandra Krunic in women’s doubles in SW19
“Of course it wasn’t the easiest decision because now is not an easy time. The first conversation I had with the WTA was at Indian Wells in early March. It was before Wimbledon made the decision to ban Russian players and it was just because my idea was to represent the country and have a shot at the Olympics.
“If I’ve made the decision to play for Georgia and have a shot at Wimbledon, why not? That’s why I made it [the decision] for Wimbledon. In situations like this, there’s no perfect time to do it.’
Dzalamidze was already twice in the main tournament at Wimbledon, but did not get past the second round. She was defeated in the first round of the women’s and mixed doubles at Roland Garros in May.
This year she will play women’s doubles at the All England Club with Serbian Aleksandra Krunic.
In a statement, Wimbledon said it is not involved in the change of nationality of players: “The nationality of players, defined as the flag they play under at professional events, is an agreed process determined by the tours and the ITF.”
Dzalamidze says it’s ‘super unfair’ for Russian players like Daniil Medvedev to be banned
This year’s tournament kicks off on June 27, with Daniil Medvedev, the world’s No. 1 men’s ranking, among those banned from participating.
“I am so disappointed with all the other Russian athletes who are not participating,” Dzalamidze said in her interview with The times† “Apart from tennis and chess, most sports have banned Russians, which I think is super unfair because none of them did anything.
“This is not the fault of professional athletes. As an athlete I have always had a close relationship with Ukrainians. People want to hear from us, but we have no influence on this situation.’