Labour MP Slams ATP's Reaction To Wimbledon's Russian Player Ban: Rafael Nadal Responds

© AFP 2023 / ANDREAS SOLAROSpain's Rafael Nadal returns to USA's John Isner during their first round match at the ATP Rome Open tennis tournament on May 11, 2022 at Foro Italico in Rome
Spain's Rafael Nadal returns to USA's John Isner during their first round match at the ATP Rome Open tennis tournament on May 11, 2022 at Foro Italico in Rome - Sputnik International, 1920, 12.05.2022
Wimbledon's controversial ban on Russian and Belarusian players has prompted an angry response from some of the most prominent names in the sport, including Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. The Grass Slam is under fire, particularly from the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP), which is planning to strip the tournament of ranking points.
A defiant Rafael Nadal has taken an indirect hit from Labour MP Chris Bryant who labelled the ATP's behaviour as " appalling" over Wimbledon's decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players from this year's championships.
The ATP player council - of which the Spaniard is a member - is discussing measures to penalise Wimbledon.
According to reports in the British press, two proposals have already been discussed by the ATP hierarchy and player representatives in recent weeks.
One is not to grant any ranking points to Wimbledon, which would in effect transform its status from being the most prestigious tennis competition to "an exhibition event".
The other is to levy hefty fines on both the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC), Wimbledon's parent body, and the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), the organisation which governs the sport in Great Britain.
Last month, the AELTC announced that competitors from the two nations will be barred from participating in the oldest tennis tournament in the world.
The LTA followed suit as it forbade Russian and Belarusian stars to compete in the remaining grass-court events, including the event held at the historic Queen's club in London.
Wimbledon's move came in the wake of Russia launching its special military operation in Ukraine.
But Nadal wasn't impressed with the AELTC's decision and on Wednesday, he declared that it was his "job" to stand up for his Russian and Belarusian counterparts.
"The only thing that we can do is to be in touch with Wimbledon and with the rest of the ATP management to do the things that work better to protect every single player in the ATP," Nadal said in Rome where he's competing in the ongoing Italian Open.
"At the end that's our job, to protect the players and to work in the interests of every single player we represent," the reigning Australian Open champion added.
The Majorcan's remarks came hours after the British parliamentarian directly questioned the approach of Nadal and his good friend and former World No 1, Roger Federer.
"Federer and Nadal should come clean. Do they want Vladimir Putin to fail or don't they care?" Bryant asked in a conversation with British newspaper, The Daily Telegraph.
"The men's tour are behaving appallingly. It's as though they haven't heard what is happening in Ukraine or don't care," he concluded.
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