This year, however, the men’s and women’s professional tours along with the International Tennis Federation (ITF) have opted to scrap their ranking points for the Grand Slam event.
The announcements to remove the ranking points, made separately by the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) and the ITF on Friday, follow tournament organizers’ decision to ban Russians and Belarusians from participating in the this year’s event.
“The stance we take is to protect the equal opportunity that WTA players should have to compete as individuals,” said Steve Simon, WTA chairman and CEO, in a statement. “If we don’t take that stance, then we are abandoning our founding principle and allowing the WTA to become an example of supporting nationality discrimination at other events and in other regions around the world. The WTA will continue to apply its rules to reject such discrimination.”
“Discrimination through individual tournaments is simply not feasible on a tour that takes place in more than 30 countries,” ATP said in a statement.
“We value our long-standing relationships with Wimbledon and the LTA and do not underestimate the difficult decisions we face in responding to the UK Government’s recent guidance. However, we note that this was informal guidance, no mandate offering an alternative option would have left the decision in the hands of individual players competing as neutral athletes through a signed statement. Indeed, our internal discussions with affected players led to the conclusion that this would have been a more comfortable option for the Tour.”
The ITF announced it would withdraw ranking points for the Wimbledon junior and wheelchair events, saying: “This difficult decision was taken as a safeguard, upholding the principle of open access to international competitions on a merit basis and the integrity of the ITF international protects tennis competitions. The position of the ITF remains that Russian and Belarusian athletes are still eligible to compete as neutral athletes.”
The AELTC, a subsidiary of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, said in a statement on Friday it stood by its decision. Wimbledon organizers said in April that Russians and Belarusians would not be allowed to take part in this year’s tournament.
“As we have previously stated, after careful consideration of a variety of factors, and committed to acting in accordance with UK Government guidance, we have reached two firm conclusions which formed the basis of this decision,” the statement said Statement by AELTC.
It continued: “We were unwilling to take any action that could jeopardize the personal safety of players or their families. We believe that requiring written statements from individual players – and this would apply to all relevant players – as a condition of entering the high-profile Wimbledon circumstances would involve significant trial and risk.
“Moreover, we remain unwilling to accept that success or attendance at Wimbledon will be used for the benefit of the Russian regime’s propaganda machine, which through its tightly controlled state media has a recognized history of using sporting achievements to promote a triumphant.” Narration to support Russian people.
“We would therefore like to express our deep disappointment at the decisions of the ATP, WTA and ITF to remove ranking points for The Championships. We believe these decisions are disproportionate in the context of the extraordinary and extreme circumstances of this situation and position we found ourselves in and detrimental to all players competing on the tour.
“We are considering our options and reserve our position at this time. We are also in talks with our Grand Slam colleagues.”