The decision by Wimbledon and other British tournaments not to allow Russian and Belarusian tennis players to compete this year on English soil, as a result of the campaign to invade Ukraine, provoked the strong protest of the Association of Professional Tennis Players (ATP)which considers a measure that would exclude top rackets such as Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev, Karen Khachanov, Aslan Karatsev, Aryna Sabalenka, Victoria Azarenka and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova as disproportionate and discriminatory.
In recent days, it transpired that the ATP is debating how to compensate those who are left out if the decision finally prospers (it will be known on May 17 when the United Kingdom Grand Slam announces the definitive cut of the tables). The possibilities that are considered are the freezing of the points of all the participantssomething that tournaments are not interested in because it can reduce the interest of the participants if they know that there is nothing to gain in terms of ranking, or the maintenance of those won by Russians and Belarusians in 2021. At the moment, a boycott is not contemplated. The British Tennis Federation (LTA) is not with the provision adopted by Wimbledon, because it considers that it does not benefit them “at all”.
Novak Djokovic, number one in the world and a regular spokesman for the players, was one of the first to suggest that solutions be sought. He said it in Madrid, before playing in the Mutua Open: “Probably, the most realistic option is to protect the points. Anything is possible, so we have to wait, see and discuss. Wimbledon and the Grand Slams are more than tournaments where you win 2,000 points if you win. There is history behind. But it will be a ripple effect later on as well, because of how that will affect the ranking system later on. I think in this particular situation, you won’t have everyone happy, so There will be someone who is going to suffer more negatively in terms of points, and more perhaps some other players.”. Nadal discussed the matter in Rome, although he did not give a “clear” answer on the matter: “There are some private conversations in the council about this kind of thing, something that I think is not good to make public. The only thing we can do is stay in touch with Wimbledon and the ATP management to do the things that work best to protect each player. In the end, that is our job: to protect the players and work for the benefit of those we are representing.” What the majority of the stars of the circuit agree on is that discrimination is negative, an opinion that the Balearic received criticism by a former Ukrainian tennis player, Sergiy Stakhovsky: “Is it fair that my countrymen are dying?”
What will women’s tennis do?
It is not known if the governing body of women’s tennis, the WTA, will endorse what the ATP decides regarding its players. What is known is that the controversy is served by Ukrainian tennis players, such as Elina Svitolina, who support the Wimbledon veto of their Russian and Belarusian teammates, who are willing to fight against their exclusion, for which they have put the matter in the hands of lawyers.