Novak Djokovic wants to defend his title at Wimbledon and supports the ATP men’s tour decision to block ranking points from the tournament as a show of unity among the players – although the move would negatively affect his No. 1 spot.
In response to a reporter’s question after his first-round victory at Roland Garros, Djokovic called the All England Club’s ban on Russian and Belarusian players for attacking Ukraine “a mistake” and criticized Wimbledon organizers for lack of communication.
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“They did not discuss it with ATP or any individual player – or, with Russian or Belarusian players – just to communicate and understand where both sides could reach an agreement and do something. Out,” Djokovic said of the All England club. “So I think it was a wrong decision. I don’t support it at all.”
He called it a “lost situation for all.”
Russia, backed by Belarus, launched an attack on Ukraine in late February. The All England club said last month that they would not allow players from Russia or Belarus to compete when its Grand Slam tournament starts on June 27; ATP and WTA Women’s Tour announce that they will not give any player ranking points for the result in Wimbledon.
Djokovic said he had heard that all-England club decision-makers might have other options than disclosure, such as the possibility of an exhibition match to raise money to help the Ukrainians in need.
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Djokovic has run-in with ATP management in the past, and even worked to create a separate player association, but in this regard he said he supported the tour.
“Collectively, I’m glad the players have teamed up with the men’s tennis governing body, ATP, and shown the Grand Slam that when a mistake is made – and on behalf of Wimbledon – we have to show that something is going to happen,” Djokovic said.
The ATP has said that all players who scored ranking points at Wimbledon in 2021 (Djokovic scored a maximum of 2,000 to win the championship) will be removed from their records as part of the normal 52-week system that counts the best 19 tournaments of any time. .
No matter what happens in the tournament in 2022, it will not affect a player’s position.
“For me, or for those who did well last year, we will not only have a chance to score, but we will not be able to defend them,” Djokovic said. “And there are some people, obviously, who certainly won’t get a chance to earn points. It’s a very unique and strange situation, I must say.”
Earlier in the day, four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka said she was leaning towards skipping Wimbledon without a point in the offer.
But Djokovic’s point of view was different.
“A Grand Slam is still a Grand Slam,” said Rafael Nadal, a shy of the men’s records, the owner of 20 such titles. “Wimbledon, to me, has always been my dream tournament as a child. So I don’t see it as a point lens or a prize money. To me it’s something else.”
Former US Open champion Sloane Stephens also backed the plan not to give points to the All England club.
Stephens, a member of the WTA Council, said there was “a lot of mismanagement” behind the scenes.
“I think the decision was right,” Stephens said after Roland-Garros reached the second round.
“I think when you look at the policies and what our tour stands for, discrimination will never be tolerated. That’s exactly what is happening.
“As long as it’s in the game, there’s no point, but we’re not going to pick when it works. You have to stand behind your principles and what the tour stands for, and we’re one, aren’t we?”
“I think a lot of players and people in the neighborhood were misinformed about what was happening and what actually happened a few weeks before a final decision was made,” he continued.
“I think it’s a bit unfair, but that’s the world we live in. We live on social media. We talk and tweet and be in all these things. So that’s it, but I think the decision was made for the tour and It was great for the players. “
American John Isner won the longest match in tennis history at Wimbledon in 2010, but said he was not looking forward to the Grass Court Grand Slam this year.
“Right now, to be honest, I’m not so impressed with Wimbledon,” Isner said after winning his first-round match at Roland Garros on Sunday.
“I can only show up on Saturdays and maybe I’ll play on Mondays and see what happens. Because our currency points on the tour.
“We play for it to keep our rankings high, to move our rankings forward. It puts a lot of pressure on you to build your rankings or try to maintain your rankings. You’re not going to do it this year.
“So I think in a sense some players will play there for free, because we have no threat of not improving your rankings.”
Dominic Thiam, the 2020 US Open champion, said players must remember the “big picture”.
“I think it’s a difficult decision for everyone, it’s probably very painful for some players,” he said after leaving the French Open on Sunday.
“But we must always remember that Wimbledon, or the big picture in all of our tennis worlds, is not really a problem.
“The real problem is in Ukraine and hopefully peace will come again soon.”
Ons Jaber, a Wimbledon quarter-finalist last year, said the decision “disappointed many players”.
“If I had reached the quarter-finals, we would have had points. The main concern for me was whether they would retain last year’s points, how they would replace them, because it would not be right if we dropped out without all the points. Defending, especially some people had finals, semifinals, ”he said.
“So this is a very, very difficult decision. I will try to get as many points as possible in the grass season in another tournament.”
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