The ATP said on Friday that it was stripping ranking points from this year’s Wimbledon after Russian and Belarusian players were banned from the Grand Slam tournament following the invasion of Ukraine.
“It is with great regret and reluctance that we see no option but to remove ATP Ranking points from Wimbledon for 2022,” said an ATP statement.
“Our rules and agreements exist in order to protect the rights of players as a whole. Unilateral decisions of this nature, if unaddressed, set a damaging precedent for the rest of the Tour. Discrimination by individual tournaments is simply not viable.”
The ATP decision, which was widely expected, means defending champion and world number one Novak Djokovic will lose 2 000 points.
The Wimbledon ban rules out a swathe of top players, including men’s world number two Daniil Medvedev and last year’s women’s semi-finalist Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus as well as two-time major winner Victoria Azarenka.
“We greatly value our long-standing relationships with Wimbledon and do not underestimate the difficult decisions faced in responding to recent UK Government guidance,” added the ATP.
“However, we note that this was informal guidance, not a mandate, which offered an alternative option that would have left the decision in the hands of individual players competing as neutral athletes through a signed declaration.
“Our internal discussions with affected players in fact led us to conclude this would have been a more agreeable option for the Tour.”
The Wimbledon ban had been widely-condemned especially as Russian and Belarusian players are still allowed to compete at other tournaments including the second Grand Slam of the season at the French Open which starts in Paris on Sunday.
“It’s unfair for my Russian colleagues,” said Spanish star Rafael Nadal, a two-time Wimbledon winner and 21-time Grand Slam champion, when the ban was announced.
“In that sense it’s not their fault what’s happening in this moment with the war.”
The International Tennis Federation (ITF) quickly confirmed on Friday it was also refusing to grant ranking points to Wimbledon for junior and wheelchair events.
By Garrin Lambley © Agence France-Presse