Wimbledon begins Monday without Russia’s world number one Daniil Medvedev and Belarus’s former world number one Victoria Azarenka, but the grass-court Grand Slam will hardly feel like an exhibition event even though they are not on offer. ranking points. The 2022 edition of the world’s most prestigious tennis tournament will take place without points after the organizers decided to ban the participation of Russian and Belarusian players following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
The men’s ATP and women’s WTA, which do not govern the four tennis Grand Slams, called the move discriminatory in stripping Wimbledon of ranking points that determine a player’s ability to enter tournaments and receive seedings. Britain’s Andy Murray won the All England club singles title in 2013 and 2016. He feels Wimbledon “will never be an exhibition and will never feel like an exhibition” with or without ranking points.
“I follow golf very closely and have no idea how many ranking points the winner of @TheMasters gets,” the 35-year-old said on Twitter last month. “My friends and I love football and none of us know or care how many ranking points a team gets for winning the @FIFAWorldCup. But I could tell you exactly who won the World Cup and the Masters.”
Novak Djokovic, who lifted the men’s singles trophy in the last three editions, will lose the 2,000 points he earned at Wimbledon 2021 and the Serb is one of many players who will be affected and drop down the rankings due to the decision.
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) June 22, 2022
Four-time Grand Slam winner Naomi Osaka was the highest-profile player to express doubts about her participation at Wimbledon due to a lack of ranking points, but last week, the former Japanese world number cited an injury to the left Achilles tendon when removed.
While US Open champion Medvedev and Azarenka, who won back-to-back Australian Open titles in 2012 and 2013, will be among a number of names barred from competing, the field of players does not reflect anyone missing in protest.
The tournament will award a record prize of 40.3 million pounds ($49.53 million) despite the controversies.
It is the first time players have been banned from Wimbledon on nationality grounds since the immediate post-World War II era, when German and Japanese players were banned, but it was the only viable option under guidance provided by the British government. organizers said. .
ATP president Andrea Gaudenzi said the decision to take ranking points from him was “very difficult”.
“We understand that it’s not that they just woke up one morning and decided to ban players,” Gaudenzi, a former top-20 singles player, told Reuters during a recent interview. “I want to say that there is a war, they had pressure from the government. There are good arguments for both decisions. But on the other hand, they also put us in a very, very difficult position.
“Could we have done nothing and just looked the other way? I think it would have been wrong because we stand for fairness in classification, non-discrimination and equal access to opportunities. “Currently, Russian and Belarusian players are banned from international team competitions, but they can compete as individual athletes without the flag.
They were allowed to participate in the French Open at Roland Garros, while there will be no restrictions against them in two months’ time at the US Open, the last Grand Slam of the year in New York. Italy’s Gaudenzi hoped that all the different governing bodies could sit down at the end of Wimbledon and decide on a united path for such situations in the future. “We don’t want to find ourselves in this difficult position again,” he said.