'Not viable': Staggering Wimbledon move shocks entire tennis world

·4-min read
Wimbledon has been stripped of ranking points over its ban of Russian players due to the invasion of Ukraine, such as Daniil Medvedev.
Wimbledon has been stripped of ranking points for 2022 by the ATP and WTA after it banned. Russian and Belarussian players, such as Daniil Medvedev, from competing. (Photo by AELTC/Florian Eisele/PA Images via Getty Images)

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.

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.”

With AAP

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