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Wimbledon's Russia ban row intensified on Saturday as British Davis Cup player Liam Broady led calls for a vote on the All England Club being stripped of ranking points.
Broady made the suggestion as he expressed concern over the ATP and WTA keeping players in the dark over whether the grass season points structure will be affected by the furore.
Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray are among leading names to question the ban on Russian and Belarus nationals. However, pressure from top players to withdraw all ranking points from the tournament in protest at Wimbledon’s stance is not shared by the entire membership of the ATP. There is concern, particularly among lower-ranking players, that reducing Wimbledon to little more than an exhibition event will be disastrous for the grass-court season, with ranking points available in other parts of Europe.
With entry deadlines for alternative events close to expiring, the ATP and WTA is under mounting pressure to decide whether to penalise tournaments that ban Russians and Belarusians. The current uncertainty prompted Broady, the current world 142, to tweet: "Would be great if the ATP and WTA kept players informed with decisions regarding the grass season point structure, maybe even had a vote about what players thought. They are players associations after all…"
Would be great if the ATP and WTA kept players informed with decisions regarding the grass season point structure, maybe even had a vote about what players thought. They are players associations after all…
— Liam Broady (@Liambroady) May 14, 2022
Wimbledon has consistently said it was following Government advice on Russia by announcing its ban “with great reluctance”. Despite criticism from MPs, Nadal proclaimed on Thursday that it was his “job” to defend the banned players after the ATP Player Council called for Wimbledon to be stripped of ranking points. Recommendations by the 10-strong player council are not binding on the ATP, which condemned the Wimbledon ban when it was imposed last month. But insiders feel its board has little choice but to take their advice on this issue.
One source with knowledge of the crisis talks between the All England Club and the ATP questioned the motives behind what appears an act of self-harm by players. “This feels like penalising the many for the sake of the few, just to make a point,” said the source, who warned the All England Club had no intention of lifting the ban.
The government is understood to be unhappy about the threat to the ranking points. Chris Bryant, the Labour MP who is chairman of the all-party parliamentary group on Russia, said the threat would penalise Wimbledon for taking a correct and principled stand over the war in Ukraine. Wimbledon and the other three grand slam events are twice as valuable as other tournaments for ranking points. The winner of the singles collects 2,000 ranking points.