Wimbledon: Martina Navratilova ‘devastated’ by ban
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The 2022 Wimbledon Championships may yet be able to keep its ranking points despite its ban on Russian and Belarusian players. Last month, the All England Tennis Club confirmed that athletes from both nations would be barred from SW19 this summer, amid the ongoing war in Ukraine. And the announcement has proved a controversial one.
A number of leading stars have opposed the sanction, with Novak Djokovic accusing organisers of unjustifiably punishing players. Andy Murray meanwhile, took aim at the British Government, accusing ministers of pressuring authorities into issuing the ban.
But despite being warned of potential legal action, the All England Club, and the Lawn Tennis Association, have stood firm. That’s despite their stance running the risk of Wimbledon having its ranking points removed, and a potential boycott of warm-up events at Queen’s and Eastbourne.
However, on Monday, the ATP confirmed: “Queen’s and Eastbourne will proceed as normal, offering full ATP ranking points.” The announcement followed lengthy consultations with player and tournament councils, although then came a warning that the LTA will still face likely punishment.
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“LTA’s decision to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes is, however, contrary to ATP rules and undermines the ability for players of any nationality to enter tournaments based on merit, and without discrimination — a fundamental principle of the ATP Tour,” it said in a statement.
“Sanctions related to LTA’s violation of ATP rules will now be assessed separately under ATP governance. ATP’s response to Wimbledon’s decision remains under review, with more to be communicated in due course.”
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Regardless, the developments heighten the chance that ranking points will now be available at SW19. Whilst a boycott would have been unlikely given the prestigious nature of the Grand Slam event, the prospect of players being unable to boost their place in the standings would bee a blow to organisers.
The LTA pledged to continue to “engage with the ATP,” but insisted the original decision remained a correct one: “Based on the international condemnation of Russia’s war on Ukraine and the U.K. government’s guidance we believe we have taken the right decision in these difficult circumstances,” they said in a statement.
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