ATP players revolt against Rafa Nadal over Wimbledon stance

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Rafa Nadal, pictured here in action against Denis Shapovalov at the Italian Open.
Rafa Nadal in action against Denis Shapovalov at the Italian Open. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

A number of the world's top male tennis players have reportedly taken umbrage with Rafa Nadal's stance on Wimbledon's ban on Russian and Belarusian players after it emerged that the ATP is planning to strip rankings points from the grass-court event in June.

The ATP tour has reportedly decided that players won't be able to receive rankings points at Wimbledon in retaliation to the All England Club's decision to ban players from Russia and Belarus.

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Nadal, who sits on the ATP player council, appears to be in favour of the ATP's move and addressed the situation at the Italian Open last Wednesday.

The 21-time grand slam champion, who previously said it was "unfair" that players from Russia and Belarus won't be allowed to play, refused to disclose details of “private conversations” with the 10-person player council.

However he did say: “[The] only thing we can do is be in touch with Wimbledon and the rest of the ATP management to do the things that work better to protect every single player in the ATP.

“At the end, that’s our job: to protect the players and to work [to] the benefit of every single player that we are representing.”

While Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray have expressed similar sentiments, the Telegraph in the UK reports that their views are not shared by the entire ATP cohort.

On Saturday, British player Liam Broady led calls for a vote on the idea of Wimbledon being stripped of ranking points.

"Would be great if the ATP and WTA kept players informed with decisions regarding the grass season point structure, maybe even had a vote about what players thought," Broady tweeted.

"They are players associations after all…"

Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer called out

The All England Club recently said it had "no viable alternative" than to bar Russian and Belarusian players due to Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine.

The Royal Family had also reportedly expressed concerns about how it would look to have a Russian or Belarusian champion being presented with the trophy by the Duchess of Cambridge - who is often asked to do so.

Last week, the chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Russia called out Nadal and Roger Federer to 'come clean' about their involvement in the plan to strip rankings points from Wimbledon.

“Federer and Nadal should come clean. Do they want Vladimir Putin to fail or don’t they care?” Chris Bryant MP said.

“The men’s tour are behaving appallingly. It’s like they haven’t heard what is happening in Ukraine or don’t care.”

The Royal Family are reportedly worried about how it would look for the Duchess of Cambridge to present the Wimbledon trophy to a Russian or Belarusian winner. Image: Getty
The Royal Family are reportedly worried about how it would look for the Duchess of Cambridge to present the Wimbledon trophy to a Russian or Belarusian winner. Image: Getty

Clive Efford MP, a member of the Digital, Culture, Media & Sport select committee and a former shadow sports minister, said: “The ATP needs to take a look around and appreciate how the rest of the world outside its bubble will view it for sanctioning Wimbledon for supporting Ukraine.”

According to The Telegraph in the UK, the ATP doesn't have to ratify recommendations from the player council, but "insiders feel its board has little choice but to take their advice on this issue during meetings this week, when a vote could take place."

The ban means Russian stars like Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev won't be able to play, nor will Belarusians Aryna Sabalenka and Victoria Azarenka.

with agencies

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