Tennis News: Benoit Paire criticises the ATP for ‘defending Russia’ over ranking points at Wimbledon

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Source: Skysports

Tennis News: Benoit Paire, an outspoken Frenchman, has demanded to know if the ATP is ‘defending Russia’ after its decision to deduct ranking points from Wimbledon.

After Wimbledon prohibited Russian and Belarusian players from competing following the invasion of Ukraine, the ATP and WTA declared on Friday that no points will be awarded this year.

After losing in the first round of the French Open to Belarus’ Ilya Ivashka, Paire chastised the regulatory body.

“I would like to talk about Wimbledon,” he said. “I would like to know if ATP defends more [its] players or Russia.

“This is why I wanted to talk with you guys. Because we are going to play a tournament without any points. When some people had Covid, we didn’t say, ‘oh, OK, we should cancel the tournament altogether’.

“But then we have three or four Russian players, including [Daniil] Medvedev, and we are rallying against Wimbledon.

“I think it’s a pity because if we were to listen to all the players, players do not understand this decision – 99 per cent of players, they want to have points and to play the tournament as it was before. So I want to know if ATP wants to defend players or Russia?”

Although world No. 1 Novak Djokovic and WTA player council member Sloane Stephens have welcomed the decision, a number of players competing at Roland Garros have questioned why they were not consulted.

“I will go there to get my prize money, as I would for an exhibition tournament,” added Paire.

“But the question is why didn’t they talk with players upstream? Yes, when they say there was a council which voted, nobody told us about this.

“If it’s a war between ATP and Wimbledon, it’s not nice for us, because we want to play normally.

“I’m sorry for Russia and Russians, but they are the ones causing all the trouble. And all the ATP players are actually paying the price.”

Despite being banned from Wimbledon, US Open winner Medvedev could become world No. 1 while defending champion Djokovic faces a 2,000-point loss.

“Medvedev will be No 1 worldwide. This is absurd,” said Paire. “We should actually take [a] position for all the players in the world, and it’s the opposite that is being done right now.”

Medvedev describes the decision as “extremely weird”

Medvedev, who advanced to the second round of the French Open with ease, said: “It’s unusual. I have to be honest, but as I have stated, I would be thrilled to play at Wimbledon. I really enjoy Wimbledon. I enjoy playing on the grass. After Roland Garros, I’ll play on the grass.

“But if I can’t, I’ll just prepare for the following tournaments and keep an eye on what’s going on. If there are no points, I will be number one, which is fantastic for me.

“If there are points, I cannot become number one, I’m going to be gutted. It is what it is. I cannot change some decisions, both about ATP and Wimbledon.”

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