'This is absurd': Tennis world up in arms over Daniil Medvedev twist

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Russia's Daniil Medvedev is seen after his first round win at the French Open.
The messy Wimbledon situation will likely result in Daniil Medvedev regaining the World No.1 status from Novak Djokovic. Pic: Getty

French star Benoit Paire has led a chorus of angry players hitting out against tennis officials over the Wimbledon controversy that is dividing the sport.

The WTA and ATP this week made the contentious decision to strip Wimbledon of rankings points, effectively reducing the grass court major to a high-profile exhibition event.

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The extraordinary measure from the governing bodies of women's and men's tennis was taken in response to the All England Club's (AELTC) ban on players from Russia and Belarus competing.

The AELTC have said they had no viable alternative but to issue the bans, saying it would have been untenable for them as a 'British institution' to allow players from Russia or Belarus on court.

In a curious twist to the controversy, the decision to strip rankings points from Wimbledon is likely to see Russia's Daniil Medvedev take Novak Djokovic's World No.1 ranking.

As the defending champion, Djokovic stands to lose 2,000 points at Wimbledon, meaning that Medvedev will almost inevitably supplant him as World No.1 even it he doesn't play.

Paire - fresh from his first round loss at the French Open - called a snap press conference at Roland Garros to share his anger and frustration at the situation that has left many players on the men's and women's tours incensed.

“Players do not understand this decision,” Paire said.

“Ninety-nine per cent of players, they want to have points and to play the tournament (Wimbledon) as it was before.

“I'm sorry for Russia and Russians, but they are the ones causing all the trouble. And all the ATP players are actually paying the price.

"Medvedev will be number one worldwide. This is absurd. ATP should defend the majority of players, not four or five players.”

Seen here, Benoit Paire in action at the 2022 French Open.
France's Benoit Paire has described the situation to strip Wimbledon of rankings points as 'absurd'. Pic: Getty

Players hit out over Wimbledon controversy

Paire's frustrations were shared by a large group of players including Karolina Pliskova, Dan Evans, Jelena Ostapenko, Denis Shapovalov and Alize Cornet.

The backlash could force a rethink from All England Club officials, who fly into Paris for talks later in the week.

Medvedev admits that it's "not easy to comment" on the situation as a player from Russia but says the ATP's explanation was easier for him to understand than the All England Club's.

"You know, about the ATP decision, it’s not easy to comment," Medvedev said.

"But when I read the FAQ of the ATP as to why they made this decision, because they are explaining themselves; they’re not just saying ‘okay, we’ve decided that.’

"I found it very logical, what they said, at least, and this is what I didn’t find from the Wimbledon explanation. I’m not saying which decision is right, but at least so far, in explaining their decision, the ATP [have been] more logical and consecutive."

Medvedev - who cruised to a 6-2 6-2 6-2 first-round victory over Facundo Bagnis at the French Open - said it was a bizarre prospect that he could become World No.1 again without even playing Wimbledon.

"It’s very strange [that I might not play Wimbledon and still be world number one]! As I said, [for the] last time I’ll be really happy to play at Wimbledon; I love playing on grass and at Wimbledon, and I will play on grass after Roland-Garros," he said.

"But if I cannot, then I’ll prepare for the next tournaments and follow what’s happening there. And if there are no points [awarded there] and I become number one, great for me; if there are points and I don’t become, I’m going to be gutted but it is what it is, I can’t change [their] decisions, [neither] the ATP’s [nor] Wimbledon’s.”

While Medvedev's promotion back to World No.1 is not guaranteed, German Alexander Zverev would have to lift the French Open title in order to prevent the Russian's rise.

with agencies

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