London: Doubles world No 43 tennis player Natela Dzalamidze has switched her nationality from Russia to Georgia for competing in Wimbledon, starting from June 27.
In April, Wimbledon imposed a ban on Russian and Belarusian players following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. However, Moscow-born tennis player Natela figured out a way to get herself into The Championships — by changing her nationality from Russia to Georgia.
The 29-year-old is on the Wimbledon entry list as a Georgian, having competed at the French Open in May under a neutral flag. At Wimbledon, she will compete in the women’s doubles event with Serbia’s Aleksandra Krunic.
The grass-court Grand Slam starts on June 27 with Russian world number one men’s singles player Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev along with top women players Aryna Sabalenka, Victoria Azarenka and Daria Kasatkina among others barred from competing in the third Grand Slam of the year.
The All England Club said it has no involvement in players’ change of nationality.
“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 (International Tennis Federation),” the All England Club was quoted as saying by BBC Sports.
Natela, beaten in the first round of the women’s doubles and mixed doubles at Roland Garros, is ranked 43rd in the world in women’s doubles.