The Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) has slammed a decision of the 2022 Wimbledon organizers to bar players from Russia and Belarus, the ATP’s press office said in a statement on Wednesday.
Officials of one of the four prestigious Grand Slam tournaments, the 2022 Wimbledon, announced a decision earlier in the day to bar players from Russia and Belarus citing Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine.
“We strongly condemn Russia’s reprehensible invasion of Ukraine and stand in solidarity with the millions of innocent people affected by the ongoing war,” the ATP’s statement reads.
“We believe that today’s unilateral decision by Wimbledon and the LTA to exclude players from Russia and Belarus from this year’s British grass-court swing is unfair and has the potential to set a damaging precedent for the game,” according to the ATP.
“Discrimination based on nationality also constitutes a violation of our agreement with Wimbledon that states that player entry is based solely on ATP Rankings,” the statement noted.
“It is important to stress that players from Russia and Belarus will continue to be allowed to compete at ATP events under a neutral flag, a position that has until now been shared across professional tennis,” the Association of Tennis Professionals stressed in its statement.
A statement from the Wimbledon organizers said earlier in the day that “On behalf of the All England Club and the Committee of Management of The Championships, we wish to express our ongoing support for all those impacted by the conflict in Ukraine during these shocking and distressing times. It is, therefore, our intention, with deep regret, to decline entries from Russian and Belarusian players to The Championships 2022.”
Reached by a TASS correspondent earlier in the day, President of the Russian Tennis Federation (RTF) Shamil Tarpishchev said the country’s governing body of tennis would be unable to influence a possible decision of the 2022 Wimbledon organizers to bar Russian players from the prestigious Grand Slam tournament.
“We have no influence over this decision,” RTF President Tarpishchev told TASS. “If it happens, it will entail negative results for the boys, considering the Rating List and points. However, it is something that we can do nothing about. Who should we be fighting against here?”
Russia intended to line up for the 2022 Wimbledon, World’s No. 2 Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev (ATP’s No. 8), Karen Khachanov (ATP’s No. 26), Aslan Karatsev (ATP’s No. 30) in the men’s competitions, as well as Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (WTA’s No. 15), Daria Kasatkina (WTA’s No. 26), Veronika Kudermetova (WTA’s No. 29), Lyudmila Samsonova (WTA’s No. 31), Yekaterina Alexandrova (WTA’s No. 39) in ladies’ competitions.
The International Tennis Federation (ITF) ruled on March 1 to suspend the membership of the Russian and Belarusian national tennis federations and also canceled all previously scheduled tennis tournaments in these countries.
On March 14, the ITF also confirmed its ban in regard to the Russian and Belarusian national tennis teams from taking part in the 2022 Davis Cup and 2022 Billie Jean King Cup.
The Women Tennis Association (WTA) and the ATP allowed tennis players from Russia and Belarus to continue participating in WTA and ATP tournaments, but under a neutral status.
Source: Philippines News Agency