London, May 21: The ATP men's professional tennis tour will not award ranking points for Wimbledon this year following the All England Club's decision to ban players from Russia and Belarus over the invasion of Ukraine. The tour on Friday announced its decision a little more than a month before play begins at Wimbledon on June 27.
"The ability for players of any nationality to enter tournaments based on merit, and without discrimination, is fundamental to our Tour. 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," the ATP said in a statement.
"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," it added. Wimbledon Stripped of Ranking Points by ATP, WTA over Russia, Belarus Ban.
Earlier, the All England Club said in April that it would not allow Russians or Belarusians to compete at the Grand Slam grass-court tournament. The likes of Daniil Medvedev, who is No. 2 in the ATP rankings, No. 7 Andrey Rublev and No. 24 Karen Khachanov are among the players affected by the ban.
Wimbledon organisers said at the time that the ban could be reconsidered "if circumstances change materially" prior to the tournament. According to ATP, its rules and agreement are there to protect the rights of players as a whole, adding that unilateral decisions like Wimbledon took, set a damaging precedent.
"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," it said.
"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," it added.
Notably, Russian athletes have been prevented from competing in many sports, including soccer's World Cup qualifying playoffs, since the country's war against Ukraine, which started in February.
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on May 21, 2022 10:12 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).