The women’s and men’s professional tennis tours will not award ranking points for Wimbledon this year because of the All England Club’s ban on players from Russia and Belarus over the invasion of Ukraine, an unprecedented move that stands as a significant rebuke of the sport’s oldest Grand Slam tournament.
The WTA and ATP announced their decisions Friday night, two days before the start of the French Open — and a little more than a month before play begins at Wimbledon on June 27.
In a technical sense, this renders the event an exhibition, because there are no ranking points at stake. Still, it remains Wimbledon, with its traditions and prestige, from the grass underfoot to the all-white clothing, from the Royal Box to the strawberries and cream, not to mention millions of dollars in prize money, and so the expectation is that everyone eligible to enter will do so.
Russian athletes have been prevented from competing in many sports, including soccer’s World Cup qualifying playoffs, since the country began attacking Ukraine in February. Belarus has aided Russia in the invasion.
The All England Club said in April it would not allow Russians or Belarusians to compete, which drew immediate criticism from the WTA and the ATP, along with some prominent players, such as defending champion Novak Djokovic. It will bear watching how this whole episode affects the relationships among the various entities that have a say in the way tennis is run.