The ATP and WTA have stripped Wimbledon of its ranking points for its decision to exclude players from Russia and Belarus from this year’s championships due to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
- The ATP boss said players “should not be penalized…because of their nationalities or decisions made by governments.”
- Wimbledon organizers say they do not want the event to be used “to benefit the Russian regime’s propaganda machine”.
- The ATP and WTA allow players from Russia and Belarus to compete as neutrals.
Tennis governing bodies have banned Russia and Belarus from participating in international team competitions following the invasion, but have allowed players from the two countries to compete as neutrals.
But Wimbledon has gone a step further and banned athletes outright, causing the ATP and WTA tours to strip the grand slam of its ranking points, effectively reducing the world’s most famous tennis tournament to an event. display.
“The ability for players of any nationality to enter tournaments based on merit and without discrimination is critical to our Tour,” the ATP said in a statement.
“Wimbledon’s decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players from competing in the UK this summer undermines this principle and the integrity of the ATP ranking system. It is also inconsistent with our ranking agreement.
“In the absence of a change in circumstances, it is with a heavy heart and reluctance that we see no other option but to remove the points from the Wimbledon ATP Rankings for 2022.”
“Recent decisions by the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) and the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) to ban athletes from competing in upcoming UK grass-court events violate that fundamental principle,” said Simon.
“As a result of the AELTC’s position that it will not honor its obligation to use the WTA rankings to enter Wimbledon and proceed with a non-merit based partial field, the WTA has made the difficult decision not to award points WTA qualifier for this year’s Wimbledon championships”.
Wimbledon organizers say they had no choice
The move by the AELTC, the organizer of the grass-court Grand Slam, is the first time players have been banned on the grounds of nationality since the immediate post-World War II era, when German and Japanese players were excluded.
The AELTC has previously said that banning Russian and Belarusian players was its only viable option under the guidance provided by the British government.
On Friday, the AELTC reiterated its stance, adding that it was considering its options and was in talks with its Grand Slam colleagues.
“Therefore, we wish to express our deep disappointment at the decisions made by the ATP, WTA and ITF to remove qualification points for The Championships.
“We believe that these decisions are disproportionate in the context of the exceptional and extreme circumstances of this situation and the position we find ourselves in, and detrimental to all players competing on the Tour.”
Wimbledon’s ban on Russian and Belarusian players has been criticized by top players, including 21-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal, who called it unfair, and world number one Novak Djokovic, who said no. supported the decision.
“Our rules and agreements exist to protect the rights of the players as a whole. Unilateral decisions of this nature, if not addressed, set a damaging precedent for the rest of the tour,” the ATP added.
“Discrimination for individual tournaments is simply not viable on a tour that operates in more than 30 countries.
“We are hopeful that further talks with Wimbledon will lead to a result acceptable to all concerned.
“More generally, we believe this matter again highlights the need for a united governance structure across professional tennis so that decisions of this nature can be made jointly.”
While Britain’s Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) reciprocated the Wimbledon ban by excluding players from the two countries from its tune-up tour events, its decision is still under review by the ATP and WTA. and also faces potential penalties.
Meanwhile, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) said it would not award Wimbledon ranking points this year for junior and wheelchair tennis events.
“The ITF has determined that Wimbledon’s entry criteria banning Russians and Belarusians compromise the integrity of its international competition, in particular its qualification system, as there is a lack of equivalent alternative opportunities for players to compete for qualification points. ranking and prize money,” the ITF said. saying.