Wimbledon stripped of rating factors by sport’s most important excursions in a transfer that threatens to scale back Grand Slam to exhibition standing.
The world’s most prestigious tennis event is on a collision course with the game’s world governing our bodies after Wimbledon had its rating factors stripped by the ATP and WTA excursions over excluding gamers from Russia and Belarus.
In keeping with the Worldwide Tennis Federation (ITF), the ladies’s and males’s skilled tennis excursions won’t award rating factors for Wimbledon this 12 months due to the All England Membership’s ban on gamers from Russia and Belarus over the invasion of Ukraine, an unprecedented transfer that stands as a big rebuke of the game’s oldest Grand Slam event.
The WTA and ATP introduced their choices on Friday evening, two days earlier than the beginning of the French Open – and a bit of greater than a month earlier than play begins at Wimbledon on June 27.
The All England Membership (AELTC) mentioned in April it will not permit Russians or Belarusians to compete, which drew speedy criticism from the WTA and the ATP, together with some outstanding gamers, corresponding to defending champion Novak Djokovic. It should bear watching how this entire episode impacts the relationships among the many numerous entities which have a say in the best way tennis is run.
“The power for gamers of any nationality to enter tournaments primarily based on advantage, and with out discrimination, is prime to our tour,” the ATP mentioned in an announcement. “The choice by Wimbledon to ban Russian and Belarusian gamers from competing within the UK this summer season undermines this precept and the integrity of the ATP rating system.”
Saying it made this transfer “with nice remorse and reluctance,” the ATP added: “Our guidelines and agreements exist so as to defend the rights of gamers as an entire. Unilateral choices of this nature, if unaddressed, set a dangerous precedent for the remainder of the tour. Discrimination by particular person tournaments is solely not viable on a tour that operates in additional than 30 international locations.”
The AELTC on Friday mentioned it was contemplating its choices and was in discussions with its Grand Slam colleagues.
“We stay unwilling to simply accept success or participation at Wimbledon getting used to profit the propaganda machine of the Russian regime,” the AELTC mentioned in an announcement.
“We due to this fact want to state our deep disappointment on the choices taken by the ATP, WTA and ITF in eradicating rating factors for The Championships.
“We consider these choices to be disproportionate within the context of the distinctive and excessive circumstances of this case and the place we discovered ourselves in, and damaging to all gamers who compete on Tour.”
WTA chief Steve Simon mentioned the tour believes athletes collaborating in a person sport “shouldn’t be penalised or prevented from competing solely due to their nationalities or the choices made by the governments of their international locations.”
“The latest choices made by the All England Garden Tennis Membership (AELTC) and the Garden Tennis Affiliation (LTA) to ban athletes from competing within the upcoming UK grass courtroom occasions violate that basic precept,” Simon mentioned.
“Because of the AELTC’s place that it’s going to not honour its obligation to make use of the WTA Rankings for entry into Wimbledon and proceed with a partial discipline not primarily based on advantage, the WTA has made the tough choice to not award WTA rating factors for this 12 months’s Wimbledon Championships.”
Wimbledon’s ban on Russian and Belarusian rivals has been slammed by high gamers corresponding to 21-times Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal who labelled it unfair, whereas world primary Novak Djokovic mentioned he didn’t assist the choice.
The ban has dominated out a swath of high gamers, together with males’s world quantity two Daniil Medvedev and final 12 months’s ladies’s semi-finalist Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus in addition to two-time main winner Victoria Azarenka.
Medvedev, talking in Paris earlier than the ATP choice was introduced, mentioned he wouldn’t resort to authorized motion towards Wimbledon however admitted “there are a number of errors” behind the controversial choice.
“If I can’t play, I’m not going to go to courtroom for this one,” 26-year-old Medvedev mentioned.
The ban has been broadly condemned particularly as Russian and Belarusian gamers are nonetheless allowed to compete at different tournaments together with the second Grand Slam of the season on the French Open which begins in Paris on Sunday.
“It’s unfair for my Russian colleagues,” mentioned Spanish star Nadal, a two-time Wimbledon winner, when the sanction was introduced. “It’s not their fault what’s occurring with the conflict.”