Momentum appears to be growing among men’s tennis players to strip Wimbleton and other UK grass court events of official ranking points this summer.
Player representatives on the ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) Tour are, according to knowledgeable sources, said to be in favour of taking a hard line over the banning of Russians and Belarussians announced last month.
While there is some sympathy with the pressure being placed on the All England Club by the government, at stake is the principle that players should not be barred from competing due to the sins of their governments.
Momentum appears to be growing among men’s tennis players to strip Wimbleton of official ranking points this summer
Player representatives on the ATP Tour are said to be in favour of taking a hard line over the banning of Russians like Daniil Medvedev (above)
Meetings of the ATP hierarchy have been taking place last week in Madrid and over the past few days in Rome.
Those sitting on the Player Council are said to feel particularly strongly about the issue, although a final decision is not due until later this week.
While Wimbleton stands independent from the rest of the tour, the ATP owns the ranking system that operates year round. If no points were offered it could effectively reduce the SW19 fortnight to the status of highly-paid exhibition.
The grass court build-up events, such as the Cinch Championships at Queen’s Club, are an integral part of the tour and can expect a punishment for going against the policy of letting Russians and Belarussians play with neutral status.
The grass court build-up events, such as the Cinch Championships at Queen’s Club, are an integral part of the tour
It had been expected these tournaments, owned by the Lawn Tennis Association, would receive a fine. Ranking point deductions would escalate the dispute and see many players opt to go and play at concurrent grass court events in Europe. Some will be very unhappy with that outcome.
According to sources the ATP is keen to act in concert with its female counterparts, the WTA Tour. So there may be more machinations behind the scenes before a firm way forward is established.
The least the affected players will receive is ranking protection.