Rafael Nadal thinks Wimbledon’s decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players from the Championship is “unfair”, the Spanish tennis legend told reporters in Madrid on Sunday.
The 21-time major champion believes the All England Club have chosen “the most drastic option”, and hopes the tourneys can find a way to intervene with the ban.
Wimbledon has been heavily criticized by both the ATP and WTA as well as players such as Nadal’s great rival Novak Djokovic for implementing the ban due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Belarus is considered an ally of Russia and allowed Russian troops to invade Ukraine from across the border.
The ban removes a host of talented tennis players, including men’s world number two Daniil Medvedev and last year’s female semifinalist Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus.
“It’s not fair to my Russian colleagues,” said Nadal. “In that sense, what is happening in this moment with war is not their fault.
“I’m so sorry for them. I wish it wasn’t, but in the end we know that this is what we got.”
Nadal, who is returning to play at the Madrid Masters after a six-week hiatus with a rib injury, said he and his teammates had to stay on their toes.
“As a compatriot, what can I say? I feel sorry for them,” said the 35-year-old two-time Wimbledon champion.
“I wish this wasn’t the case.
“Let’s see what happens in the coming weeks and let’s see if we as players need to take a stance. Something is not right.”
Nadal criticized Wimbledon for pushing their limits.
“When the government dictates something, you need to follow the rules,” he said.
“In this case, the government made a recommendation and Wimbledon decided to take the most drastic approach without being forced to do so.”
The Grand Slam tournaments are independent of the ATP and WTA but the tournaments grant them ranking points, which can be withheld if no agreement is reached on the matter.
“We know that Slam is outside of the ATP, but as ATP we grant them the most points of all the events,” said Nadal.
“They are the most important. 2,000 points, whenever we go to Grand Slam tournaments, they are really important and we have to go to those tournaments.
“So we’re going to have to see the measures that we take, and that’s very unfair to them, for sure.”
Ban ‘just not true’
Meanwhile, world number one Djokovic said he has not been in contact with anyone from the ATP Tour but understands discussions are underway to explore different ways that could be fought against the Wimbledon decision. .
The Serbian star has had to miss some of the biggest events so far this season – the 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 myself, it’s frustrating to learn that you can’t compete,” said the 20-time Grand Slam champion.
“I still stand my ground not to support that decision. I think it’s just not fair, it’s not right, but that’s the way it is.
“It’s up to them to decide, and now I guess it’s up to the players council, the league administration, to really decide, along with the players, what is the best solution in this situation, for whether they keep the points or defend the points. , take away 50 percent of the points or whatever.”
Of the many options on the table at the moment, Djokovic believes a complete stripping of his Wimbledon ranking points is the least likely.
Holding a Grand Slam without ranking points can be seen as a glorified exhibition tournament, but Djokovic does not see it as such.
“Wimbledon and the Grand Slam are not just tournaments where you earn 2,000 points if you win. There’s history behind it,” said Djokovic, the reigning All England Club champion.
However, he predicts that any decision made regarding the spots will have a “big ripple effect” on the tour.
“I think in this particular situation, you’re not going to have everyone happy, so someone has to suffer more.”
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from the syndication feed.)
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