Tennis News: After the All England Club excluded Russian and Belarusian players from the Grand Slam, Sloane Stephens endorsed the move to deduct ranking points from Wimbledon.
After Wimbledon chiefs prohibited Russian and Belarusian players from competing in the aftermath of the Ukraine war, both the WTA and the ATP declared on Friday that no points will be awarded at this year’s tournament.
Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, and Rafael Nadal are among the players who have spoken out against the All England Club’s attitude.
“I believe the (WTA’s) judgement was the proper one,” Stephens, a member of the Tour’s player council, said.
“I think that there are a lot of things that happened behind the scenes and I think there has been a lot of mishandling of how everything was handled.
“We will just go from there. Obviously, I support our CEO, I support my council, I support the players.
“The decision that’s been taken obviously wasn’t taken lightly. I think when you are backed into a corner and that’s all you can do, I think that’s why the decision was made, and I support it.
“I think when you look at the principles and what our Tour stands for, discrimination will never be tolerated.”
Wimbledon will be ‘exhibition-like’
This summer, Cameron Norrie says the grass-court competition has been reduced to a mere exhibition.
The British No. 1 is also concerned that several top players will opt out of the season’s third Grand Slam.
The country’s main tournament, according to World No. 11 Norrie, has been weakened because the best players would “not actually be playing for anything.”
“Obviously, with everything going on with the war, it’s an exceedingly difficult scenario,” Norrie explained.
“You know, having a home slam and not gaining any ranking points from that, and the tradition of it, you’re not really playing for anything. You’re playing this almost like an exhibition, so for me, it was tough to see that.
“Obviously it’s a really tricky situation but I would have liked to see it still have points, to still have something on the line.
“This changes the ranking systems a lot, they’ve taken away almost 6,000 points from the whole system out of nowhere, so it’s going to interfere with the rankings, and then a lot of players that did well at Wimbledon last year are going to be dropping.
“I’d like to have points. Obviously having a home Slam, and not many tournaments on the grass already, and then suddenly there are no points there.
“I understand the situation is tricky. And there are complications everywhere. But for me, that’s how I feel.”
Norrie continued: “Wimbledon is still such a special event. But I think you’ll see a lot of top players not playing, you know, just resting and getting ready for the hard-court events, especially those that don’t worry too much about the money.