Putin propaganda coup fears at Wimbledon: The Princess of Wales will present the coveted trophy to both the men’s and women’s singles champions – setting up a potential photo op with the Russian and Belarusian players as the the war in Ukraine.
The Princess of Wales is set to present Russian tennis champions with Wimbledon trophies this summer amid Putin’s war on Ukraine.
Continuing his tradition of presenting single trophies as patron of the All England Club, sources say he will present the silverware to any winner, regardless of their nationality.
This is because the organizers are expected to lift the 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 without mentioning where they are from.
According to Palace sources, the princess sees it as appropriate for Wimbledon and will give the trophy to whoever they allow to receive it.
Sources say that, as in previous years (the Princess of Wales pictured in 2022 with Novak Djokovic) Kate will present the trophy – including 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’m still a Belarusian player’
This led to fears from some club officials that, as one of the highest-profile members of the Royal Family, pictures of the princess congratulating a winner from Russia or Belarus could be used for propaganda.
It is understood Kate will attend this year’s women’s singles final on July 15 and the men’s singles final the following day.
World No 2 Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus is currently the bookmaker’s third favourite, after she became tennis’ first neutral grand-slam singles champion at the Australian Open in January.
Speaking after this win, Sabalenka said: ‘I think everyone still knows that I’m a Belarusian player, and that’s it.’