Wimbledon ban on Russian and Belarus players ‘unfair’: Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal has called Wimbledon’s decision to ban Russian and Belarus players from the championships “unfair”, the Spanish tennis legend told reporters in Madrid on Sunday. The 21-time Major winner believes the All England Club have chosen “the more drastic option” and hopes the tours can find a way to interfere with the ban.

Wimbledon has been heavily criticized by both the ATP and WTA as well as players like Nadal’s arch-rival Novak Djokovic for implementing the ban due to Turkey’s invasion of Ukraine. Russia.

Belarus is considered an ally of Russia and allowed Russian troops to invade Ukraine across its border.

The ban excludes a group of talented players, including men’s world number two Daniil Medvedev and last year’s women’s semi-finalist Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus.

“It’s unfair to my Russian colleagues,” Nadal said. “In that sense, it’s not their fault what’s happening right now with the war.

“I feel sorry for them. I wish it wasn’t like that, but at the end of the day, we know that’s what we have.”

Nadal, who returns to competition at the Madrid Masters after a six-week hiatus with a rib injury, said it could be up to him and his teammates to take a stand.

“As a teammate, what can I say? I feel sorry for them,” said the 35-year-old two-time Wimbledon champion.

“I wish that wasn’t the case.

“Let’s see what happens in the coming weeks and see if we as players have to take a stand. There is something wrong.”

Nadal slammed Wimbledon for going over his allotment.

“When a government orders something, you have to follow the rules,” he said.

“In this case, the government issued a recommendation and Wimbledon decided to impose the most drastic option without being forced to do so.”

The Grand Slam tournaments are independent of the ATP and the WTA but the circuits grant them ranking points, which could be withheld if an agreement is not reached on this subject.

“We know Grand Slams are outside of the ATP, but as the ATP we give them the most points of any event,” Nadal said.

“They are the most important. The 2,000 points, every time we go to Grand Slams, they are really important and we have to go to these tournaments.

“So we’ll have to see what action we take, and that’s a very unfair thing for them, that’s for sure.”

Prohibit “just not well”

Meanwhile, world number one Djokovic said he hasn’t been in contact with anyone on the ATP Tour but understands talks are ongoing to explore different ways to counter the Wimbledon decision.

The Serbian star has had to miss some of the biggest events so far this season – Australian Open, Indian Wells and Miami – due to his Covid vaccination status.

“It’s not the same thing, but going through something similar earlier this year for me is frustrating knowing you’re not able to play,” said the 20-time Grand Slam champion.

“I still stand by my position that I don’t support the decision. I think it’s just not fair, it’s not fair, but it is what it is.

“They have the right to make the decision, and now I guess it’s up to the players’ council, the tour management, to really decide, with the players, what’s the best course of action in this situation, if they keep the points, protect the points, take away 50% of the points or whatever.”

Of the multiple options on the table at the moment, Djokovic believes removing Wimbledon from the ranking points altogether is the least likely.

Hosting a Grand Slam without offering ranking points could position it as a glorified exhibition tournament, but Djokovic doesn’t see it that way.

“Wimbledon and the Grand Slams are more than tournaments where you get 2,000 points if you win. There’s a story behind that,” said Djokovic, who is the defending All England Club champion.

He predicts, however, that whatever decision is made on points will have a “great ripple effect” on the tour.

Promoted

“I think in this particular situation not everyone will be happy, so there will be someone who will suffer more consequences.”

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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