ATP Chief repeats opposition to Russian player ban at Wimbledon
ATP Chief Executive Andrea Gaudenzi has repeated the organisations opposition in principle to any ban on players from Wimbledon on the basis of their nationality.
The ATP Tour allows Russian and Belarussian players to compete but only under a neutral flag.
However, the men’s professional association are strongly opposed to banning Russian and Belarussian players from any tournaments.
Following Wimbledon’s decision to ban Russian players last season the ATP slapped them with a fine and stripped the tournament of rankings points.
It has been suggested that the ATP and WTA might ramp up the punishment if the All England Club go ahead with another ban this season.
Gaudenzi made the ATP’s stance clear. While he condemned the war conducted by Russia in Ukraine, he believes that individual players should not be punished for the actions of the state.
“I want to reiterate that we always condemn and will condemn war,” Gaudenzi said earlier this week during an interview with Globo.com.
”I know it’s obvious to say this, but it’s important to repeat and reassure because we send this message very clearly.
“I think we (the ATP) are very much in line with the guidance of the IOC. Our players cannot play under their flags in team competitions like any other sport.”
Gaudenzi insists that it isnt the ATP’s place to intervene in politics or the personal expression of players.
“There are sports that ban individual players. Generally speaking, we do not believe in collective guilt. These guys have done nothing wrong. They’ve played tennis their whole lives. We feel that, in fairness, they need to have opportunities, like everyone else,” he said.
“We also feel that they need to be able to compete and have a voice, say what they think. We saw Rublev write “Peace, not war” on camera. I think this is an important message. We want these players to play, to be able to express their feelings, even for this to reach their own people, their own country.’
“Generally speaking, we are for justice and freedom, and obviously against war, and we will continue to fight for these principles.”
Neither tour has made it clear what sort of punishment will await Wimbledon and British tennis as a whole should another ban be instituted this year.
There have been rumours that the tour’s could pull the hosting rights of other ATP and WTA Tour events ahead of the Grand Slam.
READ MORE: Elina Svitolina urges IOC to ‘stick to banning Russian and Belarusian athletes’ for Paris 2024 Olympics
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