Novak Djokovic backs stripping of Wimbledon ranking points but still plans to defend title

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 (AP)
(AP)

Novak Djokovic has backed the ATP’s decision to strip Wimbledon of its ranking points and described the banning of Russian and Belarusian players as a “lose-lose situation”.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion said he had every intention of defending his Wimbledon title this summer but insisted he would be “very negatively affected” by the lack of ranking points.

Despite that, he said the stance by the ATP, in conjunction with their WTA counterparts, over Wimbledon was the right course of action.

“Collectively, I’m glad that players got together with the ATP and showed to the Grand Slam that when there is a mistake happening — and there was from the Wimbledon side — then we have to show that there is going to be some consequences,” he said.

The All England Club made the decision after guidance from the UK Government, which either recommended a ban or getting Russian and Belarusian players to write a declaration against the war in Ukraine. It rejected the latter course of action over safety fears for the players in question.

But Djokovic said: “A few days ago, I found out that there was a document of recommendation from the British Government towards the All England Club where they had several options.

“There was not only one on the table. They haven’t discussed it with anybody from [the] ATP or any individual players, or for that matter Russian or Belarusian players, to just communicate and understand whether there is common ground where both sides should be making a compromise and something could work out. So, I think it was the wrong decision. It’s a lose-lose situation for everyone.”

Under the ATP and WTA ruling, no ranking points will be awarded, plus the points players would have to defend will also be rescinded. As defending champion, that would affect Djokovic the most.

The world No1, who got his French Open ambitions under way on Monday with a 6-3, 6-1, 6-0 win over Yoshihito Nishioka, said: “On a personal level, I have been very negatively affected.”

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