Wimbledon stripped of ranking points as ATP, WTA hit back over ban on Russian and Belarusian players

Home Sports Wimbledon stripped of ranking points as ATP, WTA hit back over ban on Russian and Belarusian players
Wimbledon stripped of ranking points as ATP, WTA hit back over ban on Russian and Belarusian players

The ATP and WTA have refused to award ranking points for this year’s Wimbledon in a significant rebuttal to the prestigious tournament’s controversial ban on Russian and Belarusian players. 

Wimbledon organisers, The All England Club, declared in April it would prohibit Russian or Belarusian players from competing in this year’s Grand Slam, starting late in June, in response to the invasion of Ukraine. 

It ruled out a number of the world’s top players, including the likes of Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev, Aryna Sabalenka and Victoria Azarenka, from playing the tournament.

While it’s not the first time players from either nation have been banned from their respective sports, the move from Wimbledon has been widely condemned across the world.

However, in the strongest stance against the Wimbledon ban yet, the ATP announced on Friday it would strip the event of rankings points, essentially rendering it an exhibition tournament. 

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

“Our rules and agreements exist in order to protect the rights of players as a whole. Unilateral decisions of this nature, if unaddressed, set a damaging precedent for the rest of the Tour.

“Discrimination by individual tournaments is simply not viable.”

The WTA, which operates the women’s tour, soon followed suit of their male counterparts.

“Nearly 50 years ago, the WTA was founded on the fundamental principle that all players have an equal opportunity to compete based on merit and without discrimination,” WTA chairman Steve Simon said.

“The WTA believes that individual athletes participating in an individual sport should not be penalized or prevented from competing solely because of their nationalities or the decisions made by the governments of their countries.”

Wimbledon soon responded by doubling down on the decision to ban all Russian and Belarusian players, calling the WTA and ATP’s call to strip it of ranking points “damaging to all players who compete on Tour”.

“We remain unwilling to accept success or participation at Wimbledon being used to benefit the propaganda machine of the Russian regime, which, through its closely controlled State media, has an acknowledged history of using sporting success to support a triumphant narrative to the Russian people,” the statement read.

“We therefore wish to state our deep disappointment at the decisions taken by the ATP, WTA and ITF in removing ranking points for The Championships. We believe these decisions to be disproportionate in the context of the exceptional and extreme circumstances of this situation and the position we found ourselves in, and damaging to all players who compete on Tour.”

The major power move from tennis’ two biggest governing bodies follows comes after some of the world’s best players, including Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, spoke out against the bans handed down by The All England Tennis Club.

While the likes of Medvedev, Rublev, Sabalenka and Azarenka have been barred from Wimbledon, they will be free to play in the French Open later this month.

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