The world’s most prestigious tennis tournament was set on a collision course with the sport's global governing bodies after Wimbledon had its ranking points stripped by the ATP and WTA Tours over excluding players from Russia and Belarus.
Tennis governing bodies have banned Russia and Belarus from international team competitions following Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, but allowed players from the two countries to continue competing as neutrals.
“The ability for players of any nationality to enter tournaments based on merit, and without discrimination, is fundamental to our Tour,” ATP said in a statement. “The decision by Wimbledon to ban Russian and Belarusian players from competing in the UK this summer undermines this principle and the integrity of the ATP Ranking system. It is also inconsistent with our Rankings agreement.”
Wimbledon organisers have expressed “deep disappointment” after this summer’s championships were stripped of their ranking points. The organisers also stressed they stood by the call, made in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine, to impose the ban for SW19 this year, calling it “the only viable decision”.
The move by the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) is the first in which players have been banned on the basis of nationality since the immediate post-Second World War era when German and Japanese players were excluded.
Britain's Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) also reciprocated the Wimbledon ban by excluding players from the two countries from its tune-up tour events.