Tuesday, March 28, 2023

ATP Men’s Tennis Tour axed Wimbledon ranking points over ban

PARIS ( Associated Press) – The ATP men’s professional tennis tour will not award ranking points for Wimbledon this year due to the All England Club’s ban on players from Russia and Belarus over Ukraine’s invasion.

The ATP announced its decision on Friday night, two days before the start of the French Open and a month before the start of play at Wimbledon on 27 June. This is a highly unusual and significant rebuke of the oldest Grand Slam tournament.

The All England Club said in April that it would not allow people from Russia or Belarus to participate in the grass-court championship.

Russian athletes have been barred from competing in several sports, including football’s World Cup qualifying playoffs, since the country began attacking Ukraine in February. Belarus assisted Russia in the invasion.

“The ability for players of any nationality to enter tournaments on the basis of 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 that it took the move “with great regret and reluctance”, the ATP said: “Our rules and agreements exist to protect the rights of players as a whole. Unilateral decisions of this nature, if unheeded, can be So set a harmful precedent for the rest of the tour. Discrimination by individual tournaments on tour that operates in more than 30 countries is not practical.”

Soon after news of the ATP’s reaction emerged, the International Tennis Federation said it would not award its ranking points for the junior and wheelchair events at Wimbledon this year, explaining that “tournament organizers are not allowed to unilaterally enforce entry criteria.” is.”

Among the key players affected by the Wimbledon ban are current US Open champion Daniil Medvedev, who recently rose to No. 1 in the rankings and is currently No. 2; men’s number 7 Andrey Rublev; Women’s No. 7 Aryna Sabalenka, last year’s Wimbledon semifinalist; and Victoria Azarenka, former No. 1 who has won the Australian Open twice.

Medvedev and Rublev are from Russia; Sabalenka and Azarenka are from Belarus.

They are all eligible to compete in Paris, and Medvedev on Friday deflected questions about the subject of Wimbledon’s Russia policy.

“Right now I’m focused on Roland Garros,” he said at a pre-tournament news conference. “Here I am.”

When a reporter raised the possibility of legal action against the All England club perhaps through the Court of Arbitration for Sport, Medvedev said: “I personally, I would not go to court.”

The US Tennis Association, which runs the US Open, has not made a decision about players from Russia and Belarus; That tournament is starting from August 29.

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