Russia’s Wimbledon ban bans ATP, WTA Tour to reduce ranking points

Women’s and men’s professional tennis tours will not give ranking points for Wimbledon this year due to the All England Club’s ban on Russian and Belarusian players for attacking Ukraine, an unprecedented move that stands as a significant rebuke to the game’s oldest Grand Slam. Tournament

The WTA and ATP announced their decision on Friday night, two days before the start of the French Open – and more than a month before the start of Wimbledon on June 26.

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Technically, it presents the event as an exhibition, as no ranking point is at stake here. Nevertheless, it remains Wimbledon, with its tradition and prestige, from the grass underfoot to the white dress, from the royal box to the strawberries and cream, not to mention the prize money of millions of dollars, and so the expectation is that everyone will be able to enter.

Russian athletes have been barred from competing in many sports, including the World Cup qualifiers play-offs, since the start of the Ukraine offensive in February. Belarus assisted Russia in the attack.

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The All England club said in April that it would not allow the Russians or Belarusians to compete, prompting immediate criticism from some prominent players, including defending champions Novak Djokovic from the WTA and ATP. This whole episode is about how the way tennis is played affects the relationship between different entities.

“The ability of players of any nationality to enter the tournament on the basis of merit and without discrimination is fundamental 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 policy and the integrity of the ATP ranking system.”

The move was “regrettably and reluctantly” by the ATP, adding: “We have rules and agreements to protect the rights of players as a whole. Unilateral decisions of this nature, if not addressed, set a bad precedent for the rest of the tour.” Discrimination by individual tournaments on tours conducted in more countries is not simply effective. “

A statement released Friday, blaming WTA Chairman and CEO Steve Simon, said, in part, “About 50 years ago, the WTA was founded on the basic principle that all players have equal opportunities to compete on the basis of merit and without discrimination.” . The WTA believes that individual athletes participating in a particular sport should not be penalized or barred from competing solely because of their nationality or the decisions made by the government of their country. “

Also, the International Tennis Federation said on Friday that it would not give its ranking points for this year’s Wimbledon junior and wheelchair events, explaining that “tournament organizers are not allowed to impose unilateral entry criteria.”

The All England club sent a statement via email expressing its “deep frustration” at the removal of the ranking point, calling the tour’s position “in the context of this exceptional and extreme situation and the position we have found ourselves inconsistent with”. He called it “harmful for all players.”

The club had previously reiterated two main ways to defend the Russian and Belarusian choices: it followed the advice of the British government and was “reluctant to take part in the Wimbledon, which was used to facilitate the Russian regime’s propaganda.” Through, the Russian people have a recognized history of using sporting success to support a winning narrative. “

Prominent players affected by the ban include current US Open champion Daniel Medvedev, who recently reached number one in the rankings and is currently at number two; Men’s No. 7 Andrei Rublev; Women’s No. 7 Arena Sabalenka, last year’s Wimbledon semifinalist; And Victoria Azarenka, a former No. 1 who has won the Australian Open twice.

Medvedev and Rublev of Russia; Sabalenka and Azarenka of Belarus.

They are all qualified to compete in Paris, and Medvedev on Friday confused questions about Russia’s policy at Wimbledon.

“Right now I’m focusing on Roland Garros,” he told a pre-tournament press conference. “I’m here.”

When a reporter raised the possibility of legal action against the All England Club, probably through the Court of Arbitration for Sport, Medvedev said: “I, personally, will not go to court.”

The US Tennis Association, which hosts the US Open, has not announced a decision on players from Russia and Belarus; The tournament will start on August 29.

“The USTA respects the difficult position Wimbledon faced in its decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players,” spokesman Chris Weidmeyer wrote in an email. “We also respect the grounds on which both the men’s and women’s tours responded, although we believe that the decision to withdraw points from all those who played at Wimbledon this year was due to the extreme and unique circumstances that Wimbledon faced when making its decision.”

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