Men’s Tennis Tour Penalizes Wimbledon Over Ban on Russian Players

“How do you draw the road of once you ban gamers and once you don’t?” Yevgeny Kafelnikov, a Russian and a former No. 1 singles participant, stated in a phone interview from Moscow.

Not like Wimbledon, the lead-in occasions in Britain haven’t been stripped of rating factors regardless of being formally a part of the excursions. Wimbledon, as a Grand Slam occasion, operates independently however does have agreements with the excursions on many ranges, together with rating factors. However the ATP and WTA selected to not strip factors from the British lead-in occasions as a result of different tournaments positioned on the European continent had been nonetheless open to Russian and Belarusian gamers throughout these three weeks of the grasscourt season. There was additionally the priority that with out rating factors on provide, gamers would select to withdraw from the British grasscourt tournaments. Wimbledon, with its enormous prize cash and status, is unlikely to expertise such withdrawals even with out factors.

Wimbledon had come beneath strain from the British authorities to behave. The event opted for a ban after rejecting the federal government’s suggestion that Russian and Belarusian gamers present “written declarations” that they weren’t representing their international locations; that they weren’t receiving state funding or sponsorship from corporations with robust hyperlinks to the Russian state; and that they’d not and wouldn’t specific help for the invasion of Ukraine or their international locations’ management. There was above all concern that signing such a declaration might put gamers or their households in danger and likewise concern that the choice wouldn’t be out there to all Russian and Belarusian opponents. Junior gamers, for instance, are routinely funded by the Russian and Belarusian tennis federations and would thus have been unlikely to be eligible to signal.

However in asserting bans on particular person athletes, Wimbledon and the British grass-court occasions stay outliers. No different tour occasion has adopted their lead. Russian and Belarusian gamers, together with the boys’s No. 2, Daniil Medvedev of Russia, and the ladies’s No. 7, Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus, are set to participate within the French Open, the subsequent Grand Slam event on the schedule, when it begins on Sunday.

After the conflict in Ukraine started in February, skilled tennis moved rapidly to bar Russia and Belarus from workforce occasions such because the Davis Cup and Billie Jean King Cup, each of which had been gained by Russia in 2021. The excursions and the Worldwide Tennis Federation additionally canceled tournaments scheduled to be performed in Russia and Belarus later this yr, together with the Kremlin Cup in Moscow. The I.T.F. suspended the international locations’ tennis federations from its membership as properly.

However Russian and Belarusian gamers had been allowed to maintain competing on tour as people, albeit with none nationwide identification. There aren’t any flags or international locations listed subsequent to their names on scoreboards, in attracts or within the tour’s official computer rankings. If the Wimbledon ban stays in place as anticipated, Russians and Belarusians will be capable of participate within the grass-court season solely by taking part in in occasions held outside Britain. Medvedev, for one, intends to take action, confirming on Friday in Paris that he would play for 3 straight weeks on grass earlier than Wimbledon at tournaments in s-Hertogenbosch within the Netherlands, Halle in Germany and Majorca in Spain.

No Russian or Belarusian participant has indicated publicly that they intend to take authorized measures towards Wimbledon to hunt entry into the event. Medvedev made it clear that he wouldn’t even whereas suggesting that there may be room for such an attraction.

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