Wimbledon is changing its status! Due to the removal of the Russians, it will now be an exhibition

Daniil Salnikov

Daniil Salnikov

Scandal with the ban of players from Russia and Belarus

The competition should forfeit professional ranking points. Let’s explain what it all means.

A decision should be made this week to cancel all professional ranking points at Wimbledon 2022, as well as other UK turf tournaments. All this is due to the actions of the organizers of the famous tennis competition, which suspended all Russian and Belarusian players from participating in the current draw.

Recall that back in early March, seven leading tennis organizations – ATP, WTA, ITF and four Grand Slam tournaments jointly decided to allow the participation of Russian and Belarusian players in all individual tournaments without a flag, anthem and country name. This compromise has been successfully implemented in all competitions in both professional and junior tennis over the past two months. However, the organizers of the most prestigious grass tournament, Wimbledon, single-handedly went against all agreements and said that this year the Russians and Belarusians would not play at Wimbledon or at other tournaments in the UK.

This sole decision of Wimbledon, contrary to the general agreement, immediately caused a sharp negative reaction from the leaders of professional tours, and from the leading players in the world. In particular, the 21-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal said: “I think this is very unfair to my colleagues. They are not to blame for what is happening. I feel sorry for them. I would like the situation to be resolved differently. It is clear that Grand Slam tournaments are not included in the ATP. But at the same time, ATP plays the most points on them – 2000 points, and we need to play there. Let’s see what can be done.” Thus, Nadal immediately hinted that in order to restore justice for our ATP and WTA players, something needs to be done with the rating points at Wimbledon.



How will Wimbledon be punished?  Due to the ban of tennis players from Russia and Belarus, the tournament may lose points
How will Wimbledon be punished? Due to the ban of tennis players from Russia and Belarus, the tournament may lose points

The fact is that all four Grand Slam tournaments – the Australian Open, Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open – have been held for over 100 years. It has always been prestigious to be included in the list of champions of these competitions, however, some significant points were not always played out at these competitions. Only the last 50 years there are professional tennis tours – the men’s ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) and the women’s WTA (Women’s Tennis Association), leading their own rating system. And the largest number of points towards the professional individual rating of players is awarded for the Grand Slam tournaments, which are traditionally held under the auspices of the ITF (International Tennis Federation). So the champion among men, in addition to the title, a memorable trophy and impressive prize money, receives 2000 rating points in his asset. And it turns out that Wimbledon is held under the auspices of the ITF, the UK Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) and the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC). However, the rating points that are played in the tournament are exclusively controlled by the ATP and WTA, which have the right to do whatever they want with them.

Daniil Medvedev

Daniil Medvedev

Photo: Getty Images

According to British media, during the tournament in Rome, urgent negotiations are taking place between the ATP, WTA and Wimbledon organizers in order to somehow resolve the scandalous situation around the British tournament. There is information that all negotiators firmly remain in their positions: Wimbledon is adamant about the ban of Russian and Belarusian tennis players, and the ATP and WTA are threatening to deprive the most prestigious grass competition of all rating points this year. This has never happened before in the Open Era of tennis, which dates back to 1968. If it happens that the 2022 Wimbledon champion and champion do not receive their 2000 ranking points, then the competition will simply change status. Wimbledon will be just an exhibition, albeit a very prestigious one.

Arina Sobolenko

Arina Sobolenko

Photo: Getty Images

In the history of Grand Slam tournaments, there have been many cases when world famous players or even a whole group of players announced a boycott of one of these competitions. However, the prestige of getting a tennis player into the list of champions did not decrease from this. If we recall the latest cases, then during the coronavirus, multiple Slam champions Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer could not go to the US Open 2020, and Novak Djokovic was disqualified during the competition. As a result, Dominic Thiem became the champion, but this does not detract from his merits and the prestige of the title he won. The latest example is the Australian Open – 2022, when the country’s authorities did not allow the current champion and world No. 1 Novak Djokovic to participate in the tournament. In a couple of decades, few will remember this scandal, but the very fact that Nadal won his 21st Slam in this tournament will remain for centuries.



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It is unlikely that Wimbledon will change its position. Most likely, neither Daniil Medvedev, who is now fighting for the title of the 1st racket of the world, nor the top 10 players Arina Sobolenko and Andrei Rublev, nor other Russian and Belarusian tennis players will be able to play in the 2022 draw. And the WTA and ATP have several options to solve the problem. The first is to leave everything as it is and not take away any points. The second is to freeze the points of Belarusian and Russian players for the 2021 draw for another year, so that their ranking positions will not change much due to the current non-participation. The third is to deprive Wimbledon and other UK competitions of ranking points for the 2022 season, turning these tournaments into exhibition ones. It won’t be long before a final decision is made on the Wimbledon scandal. We are monitoring the situation.

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