Former Ukrainian player Sergiy Stakhovsky slammed ATP’s decision and voiced his opinion on the matter with heavy adjectives such as ‘invaders’ and ‘murderers’. The ATP men’s professional tennis tour will not award ranking points for Wimbledon this year because of the All England Club’s ban on players from Russia and Belarus over the invasion of Ukraine. The ATP made its decision late Friday night, two days before the French Open commences and a little more than a month before Wimbledon begins on June 27.
The All England Club announced in April that Russians and Belarusians will not be allowed to compete in the Grand Slam grass-court championship. Since Russia began assaulting Ukraine in February, Russian athletes have been barred from competing in a variety of sports, including soccer’s World Cup qualification playoffs and Belarus has supported Russia’s invasion.
“The ability for players of any nationality to enter tournaments based on merit, and without discrimination, is fundamental to our tour,” the ATP said in a statement. “The decision by Wimbledon to ban Russian and Belarusian players from competing in the U.K. this summer undermines this principle and the integrity of the ATP ranking system.”
Saying it made this move “with great regret and reluctance,” it added: “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.”
“To say that I am disappointed, would be understatement”- Sergiy Stakhovsky
The ATP’s decision was, however, slammed by former Ukraine player Sergiy Stakhovsky who famously defeated Roger Federer on Centre Court at Wimbledon in 2013. The former tennis pro took to Twitter to voice his opinion.
“To say that I am disappointed in @atptour would be understatement. Never would expect that anyone can stand on the side of invaders and murderers… but it seems to me that even my fellow players feel sorry for invaders and collaborants from rus/blr,” tweeted Stakhovsky who has joined the Ukraine military to fight the Russian invasion.