Top Tennis Stars in Favour of Penalising Wimbledon Over Ban on Russian Players, Report Says
11:40 GMT 11.05.2022 (Updated: 11:44 GMT 10.12.2022)
Wimbledon's controversial decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players from this year's championships has led to a major backlash against the Grand Slam. Among the critics of its move are superstars Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, and Andy Murray, and in the next few weeks, the tournament could possibly face its biggest setback.
A majority of men's tennis players are in favour of penalising Wimbledon and other grass court competitions in the United Kingdom (UK) by stripping them of Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) ranking points in June and July, British media outlet the Daily Mail reported.
According to the publication, members of the ATP Council, a player's body, have strongly voiced their opinion against the ban and are in support of taking a tough stance against the oldest tennis tournament in the world.
Last month, the All England Lawn Tennis Club, the parent organisation of Wimbledon, announced that it will not allow players from the two countries due to Russia's military operation in Ukraine, which the West has labelled as an "invasion".
While ATP Council members, including Rafael Nadal, somewhat agree with the notion that Wimbledon was under pressure from Boris Johnson's government, they also realise that the Grass Major's stance is not in line with the sport's rules.
As per the directives of the International Tennis Federation (ITF), the ATP, and the WTA (Women's Tennis Association), a player's participation in a competition is solely based on the rankings and that's why Wimbledon's unilateral ban was described as "discriminatory" by these bodies.
Moreover, there's a view within the ATP circles that players should not be stopped from featuring in tennis events, because they are not responsible for the decisions of their governments.
The ATP's top leadership and player representatives are currently having discussions on the matter in Rome.
Among the proposals already discussed, there is one that all the grass-court tournaments, including Wimbledon, should not be granted any ranking points, which would effectively turn them into "exhibition events".
But the ATP and the players also know that such a move is almost certain to escalate the conflict and that's why handing a hefty fine to both Wimbledon and the Lawn Tennis Association (the administrative body of tennis in Britain) has been talked about as well.
Coming back to the problems facing Russian and Belarusian players, both the ATP and WTA have indicated that their rankings will be protected from Wimbledon's ban.
Stars like Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev, Victoria Azarenka, and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova would not lose the points they accumulated by participating in tournaments in the UK last year.