The ATP and WTA tours have taken the stunning decision to strip Wimbledon of its ranking points over the ban on Russian players in a move that has shocked the tennis world.
Wimbledon organisers announced earlier this year that players hailing from Russia or Belarus would be excluded from the tournament, a response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
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Junior and wheelchair tennis events at this year's tournament have also been stripped of ranking points, with the International Tennis Federation following suit with the tour organisations.
The tournament broke from decisions made by the ATP and WTA earlier in the year to allow Russian players to compete under a neutral flag.
In the wake of the decision, the All England Lawn Tennis Club expressed 'deep disappointment' and said they were 'considering their options'.
The move will likely have major consequences among players, however both the ATP and WTA issued statements declaring they had few other options if Wimbledon was not going to accept all entries.
"The ability for players of any nationality to enter tournaments based on merit, and without discrimination, is fundamental to our Tour," the ATP said on Friday.
"The decision by Wimbledon to ban Russian and Belarusian players from competing in the UK this summer undermines this principle and the integrity of the ATP Ranking system. It is also inconsistent with our Rankings agreement.
“Discrimination by individual tournaments is simply not viable.”
Tennis world in shock after major Wimbledon decision
Men's world No.2 Daniil Medvedev, as well as women's stars Aryna Sabalenka and Victoria Azarenka, are among the players caught up in Wimbledon's ban.
The moves effectively reduce the world's most famous tennis tournament to an exhibition event, albeit with significant status and prize money.
The AELTC stood by their decision, saying it would have been untenable for them as a 'British institution' to allow players from Russia or Belarus on court.
"We appreciate that opinions differ in relation to our decision to decline entries from Russian and Belarusian players to the championships this year, and we deeply regret the impact of this decision on the individuals affected," their statement read.
"However, given the position taken by the UK Government to limit Russia's global influence, which removed automatic entry by ranking, and the widespread response of Government, industry, sport and creative institutions, we remain of the view that we have made the only viable decision for Wimbledon as a globally renowned sporting event and British institution, and we stand by the decision we have made.
"We therefore wish to state our deep disappointment at the decisions taken by the ATP, WTA and ITF in removing ranking points for the championships."
The move has left the tennis community stunned, and somewhat divided on the matter.
There is a reason Wimbledon is probably the most known tennis competition. Points or no points, there are things way bigger than tennis and in these hard times, Wimbledon is on the right side and will stay with its perfect reputation👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻
As for the rest, it’s their choice https://t.co/ULaw8cqIDd
— Alex Dolgopolov (@TheDolgo) May 20, 2022
Imagine if someone had called for Tim Henman, Andy Roddick & the Williams sisters to be banned from the 2003 Wimbledon tournament bcos of the US/UK invasion of Iraq. That would have been outrageous wouldn’t it? Yet @Wimbledon bans Russian/Belarusian players in 2022. Very wrong.
— Neil Clark (@NeilClark66) May 20, 2022
The removal of Wimbledon from the ATP ranking points will greatly hurt Novak Djokovic's efforts to retain the #1 ranking.
#1 Djokovic, the defending champion, stands to lose 2,000 points; #2 Medvedev and #3 Zverev each only stand to lose 180 points from making the fourth round.
— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) May 20, 2022
Wimbledon (tennis tournament), IMO, has been the best organised & most democratic sports event in the world, for decades; also, self-funded, inclusive, progressive; ferociously independent. On RUS athletes in 2022, they're right. IMO.
(Fine if you disagree)
— Nick Harris (@sportingintel) May 20, 2022
The most notable of the players banned, Russian world No.2 Daniil Medvedev, said on Friday he will not take the AELTC to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to contest it.
"I'm not a lawyer... if I can't play I'm not going to go to court for this one," Medvedev said.
Spanish superstar Rafael Nadal was not in favour of Wimbledon banning players, arguing the Russian's government's choice to invade Ukraine was not the fault of tennis players.
“It’s unfair for my Russian colleagues,” Nadal said after the Wimbledon ban was announced.
“It’s not their fault what’s happening in this moment with the war.”
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