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Wimbledon 2022: Russia and Belarus ban 'still right', says tournament boss

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Published in Tennis
Thursday, 23 June 2022 09:43

Banning players from Russia and Belarus at Wimbledon is "still the right decision" despite a "disproportionate" consequence that competitors will not receive ranking points, says the tournament's chief executive.

The ban - announced following Russia's invasion of Ukraine - and subsequent removal of ranking points have been criticised by some players.

Wimbledon boss Sally Bolton said: "We hugely regret the impact on individual players, but it remains the right decision for us this year."

Speaking to BBC Sport's Laura Scott, Bolton hinted she hopes governing bodies the ATP and the WTA could change their mind on points before the tournament begins on Monday.

"We continue to talk to the tours as we do with the Grand Slams and other colleagues around the sport," Bolton explained.

"So there is always a possibility of a change of heart from the tours."

Serbia's Novak Djokovic is one of those set to be affected by the decision, which could end up cementing Russian Daniil Medvedev's place as the new men's world number one.

Defending champion Djokovic, who will not be able to defend the points he earned last year, called the decision "crazy".

Bolton called the removal of ranking points "disproportionate", adding: "We are deeply disappointed by that decision."

Four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka said the removal of points had reduced Wimbledon to an "exhibition" event.

Bolton believes the entry list for the tournament "speaks for itself in terms of whether this is considered to be a credible event or not".

Wimbledon imposed the ban to "limit Russia's global influence" as per UK government policy, but the ATP said this "undermined" its principle that all players can "enter tournaments based on merit, and without discrimination".

Bolton said the decision was "the only viable option for this year's Championships" after looking at "the government guidance that was in place".

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