Tennis stars revolt against Wimbledon in staggering protest

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Naomi Osaka, Dominic Thiem and Eugenie Bouchard, pictured here at Wimbledon.
Naomi Osaka, Dominic Thiem and Eugenie Bouchard have all withdrawn from Wimbledon. Image: Getty

Wimbledon is starting to feel the effects of the ATP and WTA's decision to strip the grass-court grand slam of rankings points, with Naomi Osaka, Dominic Thiem and Eugenie Bouchard all turning their backs on the tournament in recent days.

The ATP and WTA tours both agreed to strip Wimbledon of its ability to offer players rankings points in response to the All England Club's decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players over of the invasion of Ukraine.

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With rankings points no longer on offer, some of the biggest stars in tennis are starting to turn their backs on Wimbledon.

Osaka announced on Saturday that she was withdrawing because of an Achilles injury and will miss Wimbledon for the second year in a row.

"My Achilles still isn't right so I'll see you next time," the four-time grand slam winner posted on Twitter.

And while she may be injured, Osaka previously said she was considering not going to Wimbledon if rankings points wouldn't be on offer.

"I'm leaning more towards not playing given the current circumstances. I'm the type of player that gets motivated by seeing my ranking go up," she said at the French Open.

"I feel like if I play Wimbledon without points, it's more like an exhibition.

"The intention of this measure was good, but the execution is all over the place."

While Osaka's announcement on Sunday didn't overtly say she wasn't playing because of the lack of rankings points, a similar one from Bouchard did.

The former Wimbledon finalist revealed on Friday that she had withdrawn because the lack of rankings points doesn't fit with her plans to manage her return from injury.

Eugenie Bouchard, pictured here in action at Wimbledon in 2019.
Eugenie Bouchard in action at Wimbledon in 2019. (Photo by Andy Cheung/Getty Images)

"I have decided to withdraw from Wimbledon due to the WTA's decision to not award ranking points at this year's Championships," the Canadian said in a social media post.

The 28-year-old suffered a shoulder injury at the Guadalajara Open in March of 2021.

She underwent surgery in June of last year, with her ranking plummeting as a result of the many months spent on the sideline.

"Due to my shoulder surgery, I get a limited number of protected ranking (PR) entries," Bouchard wrote.

"As much as I love Wimbledon and skipping it makes me sad, using a PR entry at a tournament with no rankings points doesn't make sense.

"I must choose wisely and use my PR entries at tournaments that will help me get back to where I want to be."

Dominic Thiem also withdraws from Wimbledon

In similar circumstances, former French Open champion Thiem has also decided to skip Wimbledon and will play a Challenger event instead.

The Austrian has failed to win a match at any of the tournaments he has played since his return from a wrist injury in March.

He suffered a first-round loss at the French Open and has historically struggled on grass.

"I’m definitely thinking to go back to Challenger level now for maybe one or two tournaments," he said after the French Open.

"Of course a match win would help a lot, but if I’m honest to myself, I was, in all the matches I played, still pretty far away from a win."

With no chance to improve his lowly ranking of 343 at Wimbledon, Thiem will instead play Challenger events in Salzburg, Baastad, Gstaad and Kitzbuhel on clay.

The event in Salzburg will take place during the second week of Wimbledon, meaning Thiem could have played the grass-court major if he wanted to.

with AFP

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