ATP boss makes Wimbledon points admission as Russian players stance on war shared

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ATP boss Andrea Gaudenzi has admitted that the tour would be “happy” to return ranking points to Wimbledon under one condition. The ATP stripped the tournament of its points in response to the All England Club’s ban on Russian and Belarusian players amid the war in Ukraine but the chairman of the men’s tour has claimed that “none of them” are in favour of the war.

Players will be unable to receive ranking points from competing at Wimbledon this year after the ATP and WTA made the decision to remove the points after Russians and Belarusians were banned from the tournament. Albeit with a record prize money pot of £40,350,000 for players this year, it means the tournament effectively becomes an exhibition.

The chairman of the ATP has now claimed that ranking points can be reinstated if Wimbledon reverses its decision to ban players from the two nations and instead allows them to compete if they sign a declaration condemning the war – one of the two options the British government gave the All England Club in regard to Russian and Belarusian athletes.

Gaudenzi also revealed that “none” of the players from the nations agreed with the war as he expressed his wish for the affected athletes to have a chance to sign a declaration. “We would be very happy to return the points to Wimbledon if the ban on Russians and Belarusians, who have said they are willing to make written statements because none of them is in favour of war were lifted,” he said in a press conference with Italian media.

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The former player-turned-ATP boss also claimed that the decision should have been made between the two tours, the International Tennis Federation and the four Grand Slams. “The reason why we removed the points at Wimbledon is known – it is a matter of fairness and discrimination in response to a unilateral decision of the tournament that we do not consider right,” he continued.

“Such a decision should have been taken collectively involving all seven components of tennis. This story proves once more that we need a unique governance in tennis.” And he also explained why points were completely removed from the tournament – with 2021 ranking points also being taken off players’ tallies leaving the likes of last year’s champion Novak Djokovic taking a hit to their ranking.

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Gaudenzi said: “From a ranking point of view, we want to have a ranking in 2022 where each player had access to the same number of points. This is the only way to have a fair ranking at the end of the year. If we gave protection to those who played well at Wimbledon in 2021 it would be even more unfair to those who play well in 2022, because the points would still expire after 52 weeks as always happens. 

“We can’t protect seven or eight players by creating even more damage to everyone else. Unfortunately, Wimbledon points will be missing in the year-end ranking, but from our point of view it is the fairest choice and WTA agrees with us.”

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