Wimbledon stripped of ATP ranking points after decision to ban Russian players

Wimbledon has been stripped of its ATP ranking points following the decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players from this summer’s Championships.

The ATP and WTA had both criticised the decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players from SW19 this year following the invasion of Ukraine.

Wimbledon chairman Ian Hewitt said the UK Government had left them with “no viable alternative”, but the ATP has now removed ranking points from the tournament.

Wimbledon 2021 – Day Thirteen – The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club
Russian and Belarusian players will not be playing at Wimbledon this year (Adam Davy/PA)

“The ability for players of any nationality to enter tournaments based on merit, and without discrimination, is fundamental to our Tour,” read an ATP statement.

“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.

“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 on a Tour that operates in more than 30 countries.”

The ATP said it does not “underestimate the difficult decisions” Wimbledon and the Lawn Tennis Association had faced in responding to UK Government guidance.

But the Tour questioned Wimbledon’s claim there was no other decision to be made.

The statement added: “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.

“We remain hopeful of further discussions with Wimbledon leading to an acceptable outcome for all concerned.

“More broadly, we believe this matter again highlights the need for a united governance structure across professional tennis so that decisions of this nature can be made in a joint manner.”

Ranking points will remain at ATP Tour events at Queen’s (ATP 500), Eastbourne (ATP 250) and ATP Challenger events in the UK this summer.

“We have taken this decision on the basis that alternative playing opportunities are open to Russian and Belarusian players in those weeks, unlike during Wimbledon, which minimises any impact on the integrity of the rankings,” the ATP added.

cinch Championships – Day Seven – The Queen’s Club
ATP ranking points will remain at the Queen’s event next month (John Walton/PA)

“Sanctions related to LTA’s violation of ATP rules will be assessed separately.”

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries urged the ATP to consider its decision to remove ranking points from Wimbledon.

She said: “The international sporting community rightly moved quickly and came together to condemn (Vladimir) Putin’s illegal and barbaric actions in Ukraine.

“Given the importance of sport and cultural bodies in making the Russian Government an international pariah, we stand squarely behind the decision that Wimbledon and the LTA have taken to stand up for what is right.

“We deeply regret today’s decision and urge the ATP to consider its stance on ranking points at the Championships.

Nadine Dorries comments
Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries has criticised the ATP’s decision to remove ranking points from Wimbledon this year (Aaron Chown/PA)

“It does not send the right message to either Putin or the people of Ukraine.”

The International Tennis Federation has also confirmed it will not grant ranking points to Wimbledon for Juniors and Wheelchair events.

“The ITF has determined that Wimbledon’s entry criteria banning Russians and Belarusians compromises the integrity of its international competition, in particular its ranking system, as there is a lack of alternative equivalent opportunities for players to compete for ranking points and prize money,” it said in a statement.