Tennis tours are considering a ranking freeze to protect banned Russian and Belarusian players after Wimbledon’s decision to deny such stars from competing – with stripping UK events of ranking points altogether also an option
- A compensatory ranking point scheme will be discussed in the next week
- All England Club will not be party to scheme as feelings continue to run high
- The Belarus Tennis Federation signalled they were looking into legal action
- ATP board will meet at Madrid Open to further consider their response
The tennis tours are set to adopt special measures to protect those who are banned by Wimbledon and other UK tournaments this summer.
One proposal that will be discussed in the next week is bringing in a compensatory ranking-point scheme along the lines of the system employed during the period of Covid disruption.
The idea is to support those from Russia and Belarus who, according to one senior official, are being ‘victimised’ by the stance of the All England Club.
The tennis tours are set to adopt special measures to protect those like Daniil Medvedev who are banned by Wimbledon
Russia and Belarus’ players, according to one senior official, are being ‘victimised’ by the stance of the All England Club
That view is echoed by the Belarus Tennis Federation, who on Thursday signalled they were looking into taking legal action over bans.
The ATP will consider some kind of ranking freeze to make up for the opportunity denied to banned players, such as Russian men’s world No 2 Daniil Medvedev (right), to gain the big points on offer at Wimbledon.
The All England Club will not be party to the scheme as feelings continue to run high among members of both the men’s and women’s tours. The ATP board will meet at next week’s Madrid Open to further consider their response.
Also on the table will be the more extreme sanction to strip UK events of ranking points. A ranking compensation, partly based on past results, is a more likely outcome.
The All England Club will not be party to the scheme as feelings run continue to run high
As one well-placed source put it: ‘How could we allow someone to miss out on the year-end finals or other tournament entries based on ranking just because they haven’t been allowed to compete somewhere?’
A case in point is Russia’s world No 26 Karen Khachanov, who reached the quarter-finals at Wimbledon last year. He will now not be able to defend his points from 2021 — the single biggest contributor to his ranking total.
The recent precedent is what happened during Covid. A complex change was made to the usual 12-month ranking system to keep points on the computer for at least double the normal time.
Belarus issued a scathing response to Wimbledon’s decision, although they are unlikely to garner much sympathy outside the game.
Karen Khachanov reached the quarter-finals at Wimbledon last year but will now not be able to defend his points from 2021
Commenting on the tournament’s statement banning players, they said: ‘We, taking into account everything that is happening, conclude that their words have nothing to do with reality.
‘Consultations of the BTF leadership with international law firms are ongoing and a strategy is being developed that is aimed at protecting Belarusian tennis players.
‘We are aware of the ‘bias’ of the judicial system in the UK. We understand the policy of double standards will again be taken against us, but we cannot and do not have the right to remain inactive.’
Entry issues have also sparked controversy for the Madrid Open, with Andy Murray caught up in a row over wildcards. On Wednesday he made a U-turn on his decision to skip the clay-court season by taking one of the nine main-draw invitations on offer for the men’s and women’s singles.
Andy Murray caught up in a row over wildcard ahead of the Madrid Open next week
Only one of them was given to a Spaniard, leading former top-10 player Fernando Verdasco to unite with fellow players Pablo Andujar and Carlos Taberner to express their dismay.
A joint statement read: ‘We find it surprising, as well as very frustrating, that the biggest event of tennis in Spain shows such little support for Spanish players.’
Meanwhile, in Stuttgart, Emma Raducanu set up a quarter-final against the new world No 1, Poland’s Iga Swiatek. The 19-year-old defeated Germany’s Tamara Korpatsch 6-0, 2-6, 6-1 and will play Swiatek today. It will be the first time Raducanu has faced a top-10 opponent.