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Wimbledon stripped of all ranking points over controversial Russian player ban

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21st May, 2022
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Wimbledon has had its ranking points stripped by the men’s ATP and women’s WTA Tour over its decision to exclude players from Russia and Belarus from the 2022 Championships due to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

In addition the International Tennis Federation (ITF) said it will not grant ranking points to Wimbledon this year for junior and wheelchair tennis events.

The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC), which run Wimbledon, expressed ‘deep disappointment’ and said they were ‘considering their options’.

Tennis’ governing bodies have banned Russia and Belarus from international team competitions following the invasion, but allowed players from the two countries to continue competing as neutrals.

“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.

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“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.

WTA Chairman and CEO Steve Simon said: “Nearly 50 years ago, the WTA was founded on the fundamental principle that all players have an equal opportunity to compete based on merit and without discrimination. 

“The WTA believes that individual athletes participating in an individual sport should not be penalised or prevented from competing solely because of their nationalities or the decisions made by the governments of their countries.”

Novak Djokovic with the 2019 Wimbledon trophy.

(Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)

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The moves effectively reduce the world’s most famous tennis tournament to an exhibition event, albeit with significant status and prize money.

The AELTC responded: “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.

“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.

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“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.

“We believe these decisions to be disproportionate in the context of the exceptional and extreme circumstances of this situation and the position we found ourselves in, and damaging to all players who compete on tour.

“We are considering our options, and we are reserving our position at this stage. We are also in discussion with our Grand Slam colleagues.”

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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. 

Russian football authorities have gone to CAS to argue against bans on football teams.

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