Players at the Queen’s and Eastbourne events next month will be able to preserve their ranking points even if Wimbledon takes them away in retaliation to the disqualification of Russian and Belarusian players. The ATP Board of Directors met today and resolved to keep ranking points for the two men’s grass-court tournaments organised by the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) in the run-up to Wimbledon, but no decision has been taken on ranking points for Wimbledon itself.
The decision to ban players from Russia and Belarus, which was made in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, has provoked outrage among players and is, according to an ATP statement released last night, in violation of ATP rules. The LTA’s women’s events in Nottingham, Birmingham, and Eastbourne have yet to be decided by the WTA. The ATP made its decision on Queen’s and the Eastbourne men’s event because there are other tournaments in Germany that players from Russia and Belarus could enter instead, but there are no other tournaments during the Wimbledon fortnight, so banned players have no other options for earning points.
“Following extensive consultation with the Player Council and Tournament Council, the ATP board has confirmed that this season’s ATP Tour events in Queen’s and Eastbourne will proceed as normal, offering full ATP ranking points,” a statement said. “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. ATP’s response to Wimbledon’s decision remains under review, ” it read further.
Wimbledon has told the ATP it will not back down on what it says
Any action that penalises Wimbledon, though, will be contentious. Last Monday, Britain’s former top player Andrew Castle warned that if Wimbledon loses its ranking points, the tours will suffer “long-term reputational damage.” The government has backed Wimbledon’s ban and is likely to oppose any action that punishes the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) or the LTA. Both the AELTC and the LTA have contacted the tours to explain their positions.
Following calls from members of the ATP Players Council, the tours are considering taking action. However, that is simply an advisory committee, and the board will make the final decision. The winner of the men’s and women’s singles tournaments in this tournament and the other three grand slam events will receive 2,000 ranking points, making them twice as valuable as the next-largest group of events on the tennis calendar.
The players’ argument is that it is unfair to award ranking points if those such as Daniil Medvedev, the world No 2, are banned from competing. Wimbledon has told the ATP it will not back down on what it says is a point of principle to “limit Russia’s global influence through the strongest means possible” in the wake of its “unjustified and unprecedented military aggression”.