The world’s most prestigious tennis tournament was on Friday set on a collision course with the sport's global governing bodies after Wimbledon had its ranking points stripped by the ATP and WTA Tours over excluding players from Russia and Belarus.
Tennis governing bodies have banned Russia and Belarus from international team competitions following Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, but allowed players from the two countries to continue competing as neutrals.
“The ability for players of any nationality to enter tournaments based on merit, and without discrimination, is fundamental to our Tour,” ATP said in a statement.
“The decision by Wimbledon to ban Russian and Belarusian players from competing in the UK this summer undermines this principle and the integrity of the ATP Ranking system. It is also inconsistent with our Rankings agreement.”
“Absent a change in circumstances, it is with great regret and reluctance that we see no option but to remove ATP Ranking points from Wimbledon for 2022.”
Wimbledon organisers have expressed “deep disappointment” after this summer’s championships were stripped of their ranking points.
The organisers also stressed they stood by the call, made in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine, to impose the ban for SW19 this year, calling it “the only viable decision”.
The move by the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) is the first in which players have been banned on the basis of nationality since the immediate post-Second World War era when German and Japanese players were excluded.
Britain's Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) also reciprocated the Wimbledon ban by excluding players from the two countries from its tune-up tour events.
However, the WTA said its tournaments at Nottingham, Birmingham, and Eastbourne would go ahead with ranking points on offer as "alternative and comparable playing and ranking point opportunities exist in the same weeks".