Wimbledon stripped of ranking points due to Russian/Belarussian ban

Ciaran O’Mahony

Tennis’ governing bodies have stripped Wimbledon of its tour ranking points, following the All England Club’s (AEC) decision to ban Russian and Belarussian players from this year’s championship.

Players will no longer be able to earn or defend ranking points at Wimbledon, which could effect their overall position on the tour.

The ATP and the WTA released statements describing Wimbledon’s Russian/Belarussian ban as a breach of their rankings agreements, and confirming their penalisation of the tournament.

“The recent decisions made by the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) and the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) to ban athletes from competing in the upcoming UK grass court events violate that fundamental principle, which is clearly embodied in the WTA rules, the Grand Slam rules, and the agreement the WTA has with the Grand Slams,” said the WTA in a statement.

The ATP said Wimbledon’s decision undermines “the integrity of the ATP Ranking system” and “the ability for players of any nationality to enter tournaments based on merit, and without discrimination.”

“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,” they said.

The AEC has expressed “deep disappointment” with these measures, but re-affirmed its stance on the matter.

“Given the position taken by the UK Government to limit Russia’s global influence, which removed automatic entry by ranking, and the widespread response of Government, industry, sport and creative institutions, we remain of the view that we have made the only viable decision for Wimbledon as a globally renowned sporting event and British institution, and we stand by the decision we have made.”

The British Government had previously expressed concern that a Russian victory at Wimbledon could become a powerful propaganda tool during the country’s illegal occupation of Ukraine.

World No. 2 Daniil Medvedev, would have been among the favourites at Wimbledon, if not for the ban. Photo: Matthew Stockman via Getty Images.

However, the ATP noted that there were no government mandates in place, and the participation of Russian and Belarussian players, remained at the AEC’s discretion.

“We greatly value our long-standing relationships with Wimbledon and the LTA and do not underestimate the difficult decisions faced in responding to recent UK Government guidance. 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.”

While the ATP and WTA’s decision reverberates around the world, players of all nationalities have been permitted to compete in the French Open, which starts on Sunday.