Wimbledon ban takes center stage as French Open begins
Also competing in Paris are players from Russia and Belarus, including second-placed Daniil Medvedev for the men and seventh-placed Aryna Sabalenka for the women, despite their countries invading Ukraine. Russians and Belarusians will be banned from Wimbledon, but they won’t be the only players to pay the price for All England Club politics.
In a strong rebuke to what they saw as discrimination, the men’s and women’s professional tours announced on Friday that they would be stripping ranking points from all competitors at Wimbledon this year. Barring a boycott, it was the most powerful weapon the ATP and WTA had to express their displeasure.
But by denying players the chance to earn ranking points, which are largely based on successfully ‘defending’ points won at the same event the previous year, the Wimbledon points hold will fall more hard on those who have performed the best – like 2021 Wimbledon winner Djokovic.
Rafael Nadal’s reign on clay faces a new challenge at Roland Garros
Going from hard court to clay to grass to play in the first three majors of the season in six months requires precise adjustments to footwork and tactics as well as intense concentration. This year, following the fast volleys of the sport’s latest controversy has added to that challenge amid deep-seated differences over what constitutes fair play during a global crisis.
Although Wimbledon does not start until June 27, questions of access and ranking points remained in the air on Sunday at Roland Garros. American Sloane Stephens, the 2017 US Open champion, said she fully supports the WTA’s decision.
“We worked really hard to try to make sure everyone had a fair chance to play. [at Wimbledon]and in the end, that’s not what happened,” she said of the WTA after qualifying for the second round.
She expressed her empathy for players such as Wimbledon 2021 runner-up Karolina Pliskova who will not be able to benefit from those points.
“I wish she could defend those points, but I think when you look at the principles and what our tour stands for, discrimination will never be tolerated,” Stephens said. “That is exactly what is happening. You have to stand up for your principles and what the tour stands for.
England’s Cameron Norrie told the Guardian he suspected some players might skip Wimbledon if they didn’t have the chance to earn ranking points. Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov, for his part, said he is likely to play.
“I like the grass, so I think despite the situation, I still think about doing it,” said 18th-seeded Dimitrov, who advanced in straight sets. “Look, it’s hard from any perspective you see it. For me personally, it’s just difficult. … A lot of players in the locker room talk about always having that level playing field and all that. But, look, these are the circumstances.
Stefanos Tsitsipas could be the best bet in a powerful Roland-Garros field
Russia’s Karen Khachanov bristled when asked about the subject after his first-round win.
“I have already said several times that I am sad that this decision was taken by Wimbledon and that I was not allowed to compete,” said Wimbledon 2021 quarter-finalist Khachanov. is a special tournament for all of us. At the end of the day, we are professional athletes. … We put effort every day into what we do and basically want to work, in a way.
“I would be lying to you if I said that the whole situation doesn’t affect me. So ultimately the ATP, you know, made that decision. They wanted to show, you know, support in a way that there was no discrimination on tour. And at the end of the day, I take it as whatever our governing bodies decide. I don’t want to be in debates whether I agree or disagree. The decision is made. »
Poland’s Magda Linette, who scored the biggest upset of the day by ousting sixth-seeded Tunisia Ons Jabeur, said she was trying to stay focused on this tournament.
“Obviously it’s going to affect me in some way. But I try not to focus too much on that, and that’s Roland Garros right now,” she said. “I’m here; I’ve just had a very difficult match. I prefer to try to do it week after week and not really wonder if Wimbledon will be less attractive.