Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal have been urged to "come clean" on their involvement in the ATP's bombshell decision to take rankings points away from Wimbledon this year.
The ATP tour - the governing body of men's tennis - has reportedly decided that players won't be able to receive rankings points at the grass-court major in June in retaliation to Wimbledon's decision to ban players from Russia and Belarus.
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The All England Club said it had "no viable alternative" than to bar Russian and Belarusian players over Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine.
This week it emerged that the ATP will now strip rankings points from Wimbledon - effectively making it an exhibition event.
Nadal, who sits on the ATP player council alongside Federer, addressed the situation at the Italian Open on Wednesday.
The Spanish 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 and wouldn't reveal whether or not he backed the decision to strip Wimbledon of rankings points.
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.”
Chris Bryant MP, the chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Russia, had earlier called out Federer and Nadal.
“Federer and Nadal should come clean. Do they want Vladimir Putin to fail or don’t they care?” he said.
“The men’s tour are behaving appallingly. It’s like they haven’t heard what is happening in Ukraine or don’t care.”
ATP Tour under fire over stance on Wimbledon
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."
UK sports minister Nigel Huddleston previously said: “We completely supported the decision that Wimbledon made.
"While I understand there is some pushback from some players and governing bodies, I can tell you it’s got overwhelming support from the population. People understand exactly why they’ve done that.”
Wimbledon bosses had reportedly expected Andy Murray to support their decision, but the Scottish star remained noncommittal when asked about it at the Madrid Open last week.
“I feel for everyone,” he told reporters at the time.
“I feel for the players that can’t play, and I don’t support one side or the other.”
Wimbledon officials said they were left with "no viable alternative" other than to issue bans so as to avoid "being used to benefit the propaganda machine of the Russian regime".
It means Russian stars like Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev will be barred, as will Belarusians Aryna Sabalenka and Victoria Azarenka.
The WTA - which runs the women's tour - has declined to comment on its stance on stripping rankings points from Wimbledon.
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