Thu, 07 Jul 2022

Wimbledon chiefs react to points stripping

RT.com
21 May 2022, 20:15 GMT+10

The grand slam had ranking points taken away from it by the ATP and WTA tours on Friday

The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) has responded after its grand slam Wimbledon was stripped of ranking points by the women's and men's WTA and ATP tours, and also revealed that it is "considering our options".

The tours made their announcements on Friday night one after the other, with the ATP going first, and stated a belief that punishing Russian players with a ban from SW19 this summer as a response to Russia's military operation in Ukraine was discriminatory and went against their core principals.

Shortly after the ATP and WTA made their announcements, the AELTC released its own correspondence first saying it "appreciated that opinions differ in relation to our decision to decline entries from Russian and Belarussian players" and that it deeply regretted "the impact of this decision on the individuals affected".

"However, given the position to limit Russia's global influence, which removed automatic entry by ranking, and the widespread response of Government, industry, sport, and creative institutions, we remain of the view that we have made the only viable decision for Wimbledon as a globally renowned sporting event and British institution, and we stand by the decision we have made," the statement continued.

The AELTC reiterated once more that its decision was made "after careful consideration against a variety of factors" and that it is "bound to act in accordance with the directive guidance from the UK government" which led it to two "firm conclusions that formed the basis for this decision".

The AELTC said it was not prepared to take any actions which could "risk the personal safety of players or their families", and that a previous suggestion from UK Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston for Russian players to write written declarations stating they in no way supported President Vladimir Putin or were in turn backed by the Russian leader would carry "significant scrutiny and risk".

The British body said that it was "unwilling to accept success or participation at Wimbledon being used to benefit" the "Russian regime", and therefore wished to state its deep disappointment at the decisions taken by the ATP, WTA and ITF to remove ranking points from Wimbledon.

"We believe these decisions to be disproportionate in the context of the exceptional and extreme circumstances of this situation and the position we found ourselves in, and damaging to all players who compete on the tour," it said, which has prompted it to consider its options and reserve "our position at this stage" while in discussion with "our grand slam colleagues".

"In the meantime, we remain focused on our exciting plans for The Championships this year," the AELTC concluded.

While the AELTC has hinted that it may be considering taking legal action, Russian number one and world number two Daniil Medvedev has already confirmed that he plans no such steps against Wimbledon chiefs.

"If I can't play, I'm not going to go to court for this one," said the 26-year-old on the eve of the French Open, where Russians can play under neutral status.

"I don't know what [the] ATP is going to do, I'm waiting for their decision. But yeah, me personally, I won't go to court," he doubled down.

"Maybe it's the government pushing them [Wimbledon], maybe it's their decision."

"There are a lot of mistakes behind this," Medvedev declared.

To a backdrop of controversy and political in-fighting, Wimbledon is set to get underway on June 27.

(RT.com)

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