The ATP punishes the English championships, how many doubts about Wimbledon

The ATP announced that the organizers of the English tournaments will be punished for their decision to exclude Russian and Belarusian tennis players. The ATP confirmed in a statement that the British Tennis Federation’s position “contradicts the rules and undermines the possibility for players of all nationalities to enter tournaments only on merit and without discrimination, which is a fundamental principle. From the ATP tour. Penalties will be determined later.”

The announcement relates first and foremost to the two major men’s tournaments scheduled to take place in the Grand Circuit ahead of Wimbledon, the Queen’s ATP 500 Championship won by Matteo Berrettini last year and the Eastbourne ATP 250 Championship which ends on the Saturday before the tournament.

The exclusion of Russian and Belarusian tennis players from the next edition of Wimbledon and previous WTA and WTA tournaments in Great Britain was the result of the invasion of Ukraine which the Russian government continues to refer to as a “special military operation”. But it goes against the agreement signed between the ITF and other organizations governing tennis (ATP, WTA and 4 Grand Slams) that initially chose to follow the ITF’s line and allow Russians and Belarusians to be registered but only as neutral athletes, i.e. without reference to the flag, colors or national anthems .

Wimbledon took a different stance in April. The only slam that was not chaired by the National Football League but by a private club, the All England Club, broke the agreement and announced that it would ban Russians and Belarusians from participating in the 2022 edition. The Lebanese Transparency Association (LTA) extended the exclusion to others with good events in the UK. So they will not be in London, but not in Eastbourne or Birmingham, world number two Daniil Medvedev, top ten Andrey Rublev, WTA No. 7 Arina Sabalenka or former number one Victoria Azarenka.

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The ATP and Women’s Tennis Association spoke out against the “discriminatory” option and threatened “fines and penalties.” The head of the Italian Tennis Federation, Angelo Benaghi, said the penalties “which could have led to the revocation of the tournament’s licence” raised the question of the potential consequences of BNL Internazionale in Italy if the FIT followed the same path as the National Football Association. .

Despite criticism from top players, not even directly punishing them like Rafa Nadal and world number one Novak Djokovic, All England Club president Ian Hewitt defended the hard line. “We made the most responsible decision under these circumstances,” he said.

However, the penalties will not weaken the sporting aspect of the 2022 edition of your tournaments. After a long confrontation with the Players Council and the Tournament Council [le assemblee dei rappresentanti dei giocatori e degli organizzatori dei tornei, NdR]The ATP confirmed that tournaments in Queens and Eastbourne will award regular ATP points.”

Another reason, to wait for the official entry list whose deadline has been pushed back by 48 hours, is to contemplate seeing Matteo Berrettini in the aristocratic environment of one of the world’s oldest multi-sport clubs named after Queen Victoria.

However, the node related to Wimbledon, which closed registrations for the tournament, is still open. In recent days, unconfirmed rumors of a point vote for the 2022 edition of the tournament by the ATP and WTA players’ boards have been buzzing on social networks. But at this point, the precedent created with this decision for the preparatory tournaments may make the opposite situation to Wimbledon more likely.

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This is also confirmed by Simon Briggs, the first tennis signing for the British newspaper The Telegraph. He writes that ATP may have been affected by two factors. On the other hand, a less aggressive attitude from the female representatives on the WTA board, which has not yet taken a public position in the Eastbourne 500, Birmingham and Nottingham 250. On the other hand, the coolness of lower-ranked tennis players who did not have a positive view of the possibility of not being awarded ATP points, was an additional obstacle to their rise in the rating.

The Lebanese Transparency Association (LTA) welcomed the announcement of the ATP. “Based on the international condemnation of the invasion of Ukraine by Russia and the guidance of the British Government, we believe we have made the right choice,” a statement from the British Federation read.

Queenie Bell

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