PARIS (AP) — The women’s and men’s professional tennis tours will not award ranking points for Wimbledon this year due to the All England Club’s banning of players from Russia and Belarus following the invasion of Wimbledon. Ukraine, an unprecedented move that serves as a significant rebuke to the sport’s oldest Grand Slam tournament.
The WTA and ATP announced their decisions on Friday evening, two days before the start of the French Open – and just over a month before play begins at Wimbledon on June 27.
In a technical sense, this makes the event an exhibition, as there are no ranking points at stake. Yet it remains Wimbledon, with its traditions and prestige, from the grass underfoot to the clothes all whites, from the Royal Box to strawberries and cream, not to mention millions of dollars in prize money, and so it is expected that everyone eligible to participate will.
Russian athletes have been barred from competing in many sports, including FIFA World Cup qualifiers, since the country began attacking Ukraine in February. Belarus aided Russia in the invasion.
The All England Club said in April that it would not allow Russians or Belarusians to compete, prompting immediate criticism from the WTA and ATP, as well as some top players, such as the defending champion Novak Djokovic. We will have to look at how this whole episode affects the relations between the different entities that have a say in the way tennis is managed.
“The ability for players of any nationality to participate in tournaments based on merit and without discrimination is fundamental to our tour,” the ATP said in a statement. “Wimbledon’s decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players from competing in the UK this summer undermines this principle and the integrity of the ATP ranking system.”
Saying it made this decision “with great regret and reluctance”, the ATP added: “Our rules and agreements exist to protect the rights of players as a whole. Unilateral decisions of this nature, if not are not taken into account, set a damaging precedent for the rest of the tour.Discrimination by individual tournaments is simply not sustainable on a tour that operates in more than 30 countries.
A statement attributed to WTA President and CEO Steve Simon and released during that tour on Friday read, inter alia: “Nearly 50 years ago, the WTA was founded on the fundamental principle that all players have an equal opportunity to compete on the basis of merit and without discrimination. . The WTA believes that individual athletes participating in an individual sport should not be penalized or prevented from competing solely because of their nationality or the decisions made by the governments of their countries.
Additionally, the International Tennis Federation said on Friday that it would not award its ranking points for the junior and wheelchair events at Wimbledon this year, explaining that “tournament organizers are not permitted to unilaterally impose entry criteria.
The All England Club sent an emailed statement expressing their “deep disappointment” at the removal of ranking points, calling the touring stance “disproportionate in the context of the exceptional and extreme circumstances of this situation and the position where we found ourselves” and calling it “detrimental to all players”.
The club reiterated the two main ways in which it previously defended the choice to ban Russians and Belarusians: it followed the advice of the British government, and a reluctance “to accept that success or participation in Wimbledon is used for the benefit of the propaganda machine of the Russian regime”. , which, through its tightly controlled state media, has a proven history of using sporting success to support a triumphant narrative to the Russian people.
Among the top players affected by the ban are reigning US Open champion Daniil Medvedev, who recently reached No. 1 in the rankings and is currently No. 2; male number 7 Andrey Rublev; women’s No. 7 Aryna Sabalenka, Wimbledon semi-finalist last year; and Victoria Azarenka, a former No.1 who won the Australian Open twice.
Medvedev and Rublev come from Russia; Sabalenka and Azarenka are from Belarus.
They are all eligible to compete in Paris, and Medvedev deflected questions on the subject of Russian politics from Wimbledon on Friday.
“Right now I’m focused on Roland Garros,” he said in a pre-tournament press conference. “I’m here.”
When a reporter raised the possibility of legal action against the All England Club, possibly via the Court of Arbitration for Sport, Medvedev said: “I, personally, will not go to court.”
The US Tennis Association, which administers the US Open, has not announced a decision regarding players from Russia and Belarus; this tournament starts on August 29th.
“The USTA respects the difficult position Wimbledon faced in its decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players,” spokesman Chris Widmaier wrote in an email. “We also respect the grounds on which the men’s and women’s tours have responded, although we believe their decision to take points away from everyone playing at Wimbledon this year is disproportionately serious due to the extreme and unique situation in which Wimbledon was confronted when making a decision.”
More AP Sports: https://apnews.com/hub/sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
#ATP #Mens #Tennis #Tour #Pins #Wimbledon #Ranking #Points #Ban #TSNca