London: The ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine has affected many segments, including sports. Tennis players will not receive ranking points from the ATP and the WTA at this year’s Wimbledon following the All England Lawn Tennis Association’s decision to ban Russia and Belarus players from the prestigious grass-court Grand Slam, the governing body of men’s and women’s professional tennis said in a statement.
The decision by the ATP and the WTA will certainly reduce Wimbledon’s popularity starting from June 27. The AELTC is adamant and decided to impose a ban on Russian and Belarusian players at this year’s championships amidst Moscow’s attack on Ukraine.
This would be the first time that players have been debarred due to their nationality. This happened after World War 11, when German and Japanese players met with the same fate.
“The ability for players of any nationality to enter tournaments based on merit, and without discrimination, is fundamental to our Tour.” “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,” the ATP said in a statement.
However, the organisers of Wimbledon said that the ban was the only viable option under British government guidance—a stance that the ATP rejected.
The AELTC on Friday said they were considering their options and were in discussions with their Grand Slam colleagues.
“In addition, we remain unwilling to accept success or participation at Wimbledon being used to benefit the propaganda machine of the Russian regime,” the AELTC said in a statement.
“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.”
Violation of fundamental principles
WTA chief Steve Simon said the tour believes 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.”
“The recent decisions made by the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) and the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) to ban athletes from competing in the upcoming UK grass court events violate that fundamental principle,” Simon said.