ATP and WTA strip Wimbledon ranking points over Russia and Belarus ban
The world governing bodies of the men’s and women’s tours have stripped Wimbledon of ranking points for this year’s tournament.
Wimbledon will be stripped of ranking points over its decision to exclude players from Russia and Belarus from competing at the 2022 Championships due to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, the men’s ATP Tour said on Friday. The WTA also said it would not be awarding ranking points at the grass-court Grand Slam, saying it was a “difficult decision” but one that was taken to “protect the equal opportunities WTA players should have to compete as individuals.
Tennis governing bodies have banned Russia and Belarus from international team competitions following the invasion, but allowed players from the two countries to continue competing as neutrals. The move by the All-England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) represents the first time players have been banned on grounds of nationality since the immediate post-World War Two era when German and Japanese players were excluded.
“The ability for players of any nationality to enter tournaments based on merit, and without discrimination, is fundamental to our Tour,” the ATP said in a statement. The International Tennis Federation also stood by the decision and announced that ranking points will also be removed from the junior and wheelchair tournaments.
“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. It is also inconsistent with our Rankings agreement.
“Absent a change in circumstances, it is with great regret and reluctance that we see no option but to remove ATP Ranking points from Wimbledon for 2022.”
However, the ATP and WTA Tours have elected against stripping the two traditional grass-court warm up events at Queen’s and Eastbourne of ranking points despite an LTA ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes. “Following extensive consultation with the Player Council and Tournament Council, the ATP Board has today confirmed that this season’s ATP Tour events in Queen’s and Eastbourne will proceed as normal, offering full ATP rankings points,” the ATP announced last week.
What does the ranking points decision mean for players?
While most players will not be hugely adversely affected by the decision, it will mean changes to the top of the rankings when the latest list is announced immediately afterward, as players will not be able to defend the points they earned at the tournament last year. Reigning champion Novak Djokovic, for example, will lose the 2,000 points he was awarded last year after beating Matteo Berrettini in the final. As such, the Serbian will also lose his number one ranking after the tournament despite world number two Daniil Medvedev being unable to play at Wimbledon.
Last year’s women’s singles champion, Ash Barty, has since retired from the sport and so would not have defended her ranking points in any case.
Which players are banned from Wimbledon?
Medvedev is one of a raft of big names who will be absent from the third Grand Slam of the year. The world number two won the US Open last year and reached the final of the Australian Open in January, where he was beaten by Rafa Nadal. His best performance at Wimbledon was a run to the fourth round last year.
World number seven Andrey Rublev, who has publicly spoken out against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, is also affected by the ban, his best run also coming last year when he reached the fourth round. World number 24 Karen Khachanov, a quarterfinalist last year, will also be absent.
The women’s world number seven, Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka, will also be unable to play. Sabalenka was seeded second and reached the semi-finals last year and would have been among the favourites for the title.
Among top 30 players also missing out are 2011 and 2012 semi-finalist Viktoria Azarenka - a firm fan favourite in SW19 and the current world number 15 - world number 20 Daria Kasatkina, world number 26 Liudmila Samsonova and 30-ranked Veronika Kudermetova.