Wimbledon Stripped Of ATP, WTA, ITF Ranking Points, Tennis World Reacts

Tennis’s governing bodies have been accused of siding with “invaders and murderers” after downgrading Wimbledon to exhibition status.

Wimbledon, widely regarded as the world’s most prestigious tennis event, was stripped of ranking points on Friday by the sport’s major tours in response to a decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players from the tournament following the invasion of Ukraine.

The move threatened to reduce Wimbledon to the status of a high-profile exhibition event.

“It is with great regret and reluctance that we see no other option but to remove the points from the Wimbledon ATP Rankings for 2022,” an ATP statement said.

“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.

“Discrimination for individual tournaments is simply not viable.”

The ATP decision means defending champion and world number one Novak Djokovic will lose 2,000 points.

The WTA, which operates the women’s circuit, joined its male counterparts in retaining points for the tournament that begins June 27.

The Wimbledon ban has ruled out a swath of top players, including men’s world number two Daniil Medvedev and last year’s women’s semi-finalist Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus, as well as two-time Grand Slam winner Victoria Azarenka.

The All England Club expressed its “deep disappointment” at the decision.

“We appreciate that opinions differed regarding our decision to deny Russian and Belarusian players entry to The Championships this year, and deeply regret the impact of this decision on those affected,” it said in a statement.

“However, given the position taken by the UK government to limit Russia’s global influence, which has removed automatic qualifying entry, and the widespread response from government, industry, sport and creative institutions, we continue to believe that we have done the only viable way. decision for Wimbledon as a world-renowned sporting event and British institution, and we stand by the decision we have made.”

The ATP’s decision was also criticized by former Ukraine player Sergiy Stakhovsky, who defeated Roger Federer on Center Court at Wimbledon in 2013.

To say I’m disappointed in @atptour would be an understatement. I would never expect someone to be able to side with the invaders and killers… but it seems to me that even my fellow gamers feel sorry for the invaders and collaborators of rus/blr,” tweeted Stakhovsky, who joined the Ukrainian army to fight. against the Russian invasion. .

“Players who in 85 days could not produce any clear message condemning the invasion of Ukraine. Shameful day in tennis.”

Another former Ukrainian pro, Alex Dolgopolov, described it as a “very bad decision”.

The ATP did not close the door, adding that it remained “in the hope that further discussions with Wimbledon will lead to an outcome acceptable to all concerned.”

“We highly value our long-standing relationships with Wimbledon and do not underestimate the difficult decisions we face in responding to recent guidance from the UK government,” the ATP added.

“However, we note that this was informal guidance, not a mandate, which offered an alternative option that would have left the decision in the hands of individual players competing as neutral athletes through a signed statement.

“Our internal discussions with the affected players, in fact, led us to conclude that this would have been a more palatable option for the Tour.”

WTA chief executive Steve Simon said his organization believed that “individual athletes participating in an individual sport should not be penalized or prevented from competing solely because of their nationalities or decisions made by the governments of their countries.”

“As a result of the All England Tennis Club’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 prizes. WTA. qualifying points for this year’s Wimbledon Championships,” he added.

The Wimbledon ban has been widely condemned, especially as Russian and Belarusian players are still allowed to compete in other tournaments, including the second Grand Slam of the season at the French Open, which starts in Paris on Sunday.

“It’s unfair to my Russian colleagues,” Spanish star Rafael Nadal, a two-time Wimbledon winner and 21-time Grand Slam champion, said when the ban was announced.

“It’s not their fault what’s going on right now with the war.” Medvedev, speaking in Paris before the ATP decision was announced, said he will not sue Wimbledon over the ban, but admitted “there are a lot of mistakes” behind the controversial decision.

“If I can’t play, I won’t go on court for this,” said Medvedev, 26, the world number two.

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) also confirmed on Friday that it was refusing to award Wimbledon ranking points for junior and wheelchair events.

British number two Dan Evans, speaking to the BBC at the French Open on Friday before the ATP decision was announced, said he wanted points on the line at the All England Club.

“I think most players think it’s not ideal that the other players (Russia/Belarus) can’t play, but there should still be points at Wimbledon,” he said.

— with AFP

Leave a Comment