This year’s London major has become a highly politicised event after the All England Club responded to Russia ‘s ongoing invasion of Ukraine by banning all Russian and Belarusian athletes. Both the ATP and WTA expressed opposition to that idea and fired back by ensuring no players would earn Tour points at SW19.
The tensions have cleaved a divide in opinion among pundits and players alike, but there may yet be hope of a compromise between the parties. The Daily Mail reported ‘options are few’ if Wimbledon executives are to at least partially rescue the situation when they travel to Roland Garros this week.
It looks improbable that the ATP or WTA will reverse their decision to strip the major of its points, which has come months before the former is due to renew its ranking points scheme. The recent dissent comes amid a rise in rumours that the Grand Slam tournaments could threaten to form their own system separate from the ATP.
One potential solution is to reintroduce the grass-court seeding formula that was only dropped last year. This would see players’ form on grass over the previous 24 months used to calculate the top 32 seeds, meaning a better performance this year may lead to a superior draw come 2023.
World No. 2 Daniil Medvedev is set to be the highest-profile absence from Wimbledon as a result of the ban on Russian athletes. Compatriot Andrey Rublev—ranked seventh—will also be prevented from attending, and he warned tennis could be “destroyed” unless lawmakers and major officials work together.
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“Tennis, in my opinion, is the only sport where we need tournaments to work together, and tournaments need players to work together,” he told reporters at Roland Garros on Tuesday. “And when we have a toxic relationship like now, only bad things can happen.”
British contender Dan Evans defeated Francisco Cerundolo in Paris before commenting the decision to strip Wimbledon of points was “not the right decision,” albeit a “difficult one.” Benoit Paire piled on by claiming “99 per cent of players” want to play at SW19 for points, asking whether the ATP was prioritising “players or Russia.”
It’s understood a reduction in Wimbledon prize money will not be up for discussion when reps reach Roland Garros. And with only a month to go before the tournament begins, organisers will be increasingly desperate to ensure this year’s major serves an extravaganza for players and fans alike.