One of Britain’s top players has hit out at threats by the ATP and WTA Tours to cancel the traditional pre-Wimbledon tournaments unless bans on Russian and Belarusian players are overturned.
Players such as Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev and Aryna Sabalenka were not permitted to play at Wimbledon in 2022, following the invasion of Ukraine.
No official announcement has been made on whether that ban will remain for 2023. While the ATP and WTA Tours don’t have the power to cancel Wimbledon as a grand slam, they can scrap tour events, such as the time-honoured Queen’s tournament.
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“It’s a sad state of affairs if Queen’s wasn’t on,” British No.2 Dan Evans told The Times.
“I’m not a fan of the threats. The ATP should not throw stones when they live in glass houses.
“Queen’s is one of the best and most prestigious tournaments on the tour, which has done a lot for the ATP Tour in its time.”
Wimbledon was stripped of rankings points in 2022, a move that Australian legend Todd Woodbridge said “ruined” the rankings system for 13 months.
“By virtue of the decision they’ve made, the rankings are inaccurate and don’t reflect reality,” he told Wide World of Sports in 2022.
“They’re effectively null and void.”
The ATP and WTA Tours have said tournaments organised by Britain’s Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) will be cancelled if it continues to exercise “discrimination based on nationality” which is a move that Evans says won’t fix the problem.
“I’m a massive advocate for the ATP generally,” the world No.28 said. “They do great things but we have to have sensible conversations.
“I don’t think threatening the LTA with taking away the licence for these events is how it’s going to be resolved.”
“It affects all of the Brits,” he added. “They’re not going to get chances or playing opportunities with a wild card.
“I think common sense should prevail. The LTA’s hands are tied a little bit as well. This subject goes a bit bigger than tennis federations and governing bodies.”
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