When requested concerning the determination to not award rating factors at Wimbledon this yr, four-time main champion Naomi Osaka stated the match will now be “extra like an exhibition.”
Different gamers have responded with anger, confusion and ideas of skipping Wimbledon altogether. The announcement, made on Friday by the WTA and ATP, was in response to All England Membership’s ban on gamers from Russia and Belarus.
The transfer can have main repercussions for reigning Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic, who will be unable to defend 2,000 factors, and can possible then lose his No. 1 rating. Defending ladies’s champion Ashleigh Barty has retired, however different gamers who made a deep run in Wimbledon in 2021 might lose a considerable quantity of factors as effectively.
On the French Open this week, Djokovic, Osaka, and a number of the sport’s largest names gave their opinions on this unprecedented chain of occasions. French participant Benoit Paire even took the uncommon step of calling his personal information convention following his first-round loss to make sure he had a platform to talk his thoughts on the polarizing subject.
Right here, some excerpts of what they’ve stated to the media this week:
Novak Djokovic (Serbia)
20-time main champion (six at Wimbledon), world No. 1
“After all on a private, particular person degree, I’ve been very negatively affected by that. However I’ve been talking with administration and the president of ATP and a number of the council members really in the previous couple of days.
“I believe collectively I am glad that gamers obtained along with ATP, the governing physique of the boys’s tennis, and confirmed to the Grand Slam that … when there’s a mistake taking place, and there was from the Wimbledon facet, then we now have to indicate that there’s going to be some penalties.
“It is laborious, actually. … It is form of, I might say, lose-lose state of affairs for everybody.” Extra on Djokovic’s feedback.
Naomi Osaka (Japan)
4-time main champion
“I might like to go simply to get some expertise on the grass courtroom, however on the identical time, for me, it is form of like — I do not wish to say pointless, no pun meant, however I am the kind of participant that will get motivated by, like, seeing my rating go up or like, , stuff like that.
“So I believe the intention was actually good, however the execution is form of in every single place …
“I really feel like if I play Wimbledon with out factors, it is extra like an exhibition. I do know this is not true, proper? However my mind simply feels that means. Each time I believe one thing is like an exhibition, I simply can’t go at it 100%.
“I did not even make my determination but, however I am leaning extra in direction of not taking part in given the present circumstances, however, , which may change.” Extra on Osaka’s feedback.
2020 French Open champion, world No. 1
“I am OK with taking part in with out factors; I am OK taking part in with factors. However for me it is extra the political facet of issues, as a result of, , Poland is supporting Ukrainians, and the conflict is correct subsequent to my nation. So mainly, it is tougher on me from that perspective. I do not actually thoughts about factors. For me, , it is Wimbledon, for positive. It is one of the essential tournaments within the season.
“However there may be conflict happening. So I have a look at it extra from that means than, , what’s gonna occur on rankings.”
2021 Wimbledon finalist
“I believe it is tremendous powerful and unfair and [a] unhealthy determination. … However I suppose there’s not a lot you are able to do about it. I nonetheless wish to go and compete there, that is for positive, as a result of I am not taking part in due to the factors, not even due to the cash. I simply, in fact, I wish to win and I wish to succeed and I wish to perhaps get the trophy as a result of I used to be fairly shut final yr.
“However that does not change … that I believe it is utterly improper, the choice, not even the one from Wimbledon, I believe extra the one from WTA.
“I believe they need to maintain at the least 50% from the final yr or all of the factors. As a result of, I imply, it was the identical like when it was COVID, if there [were] no tournaments you saved the factors for like one yr or two years virtually [for] some gamers.
“So I believe they did not actually assist anyone. Like, I imply, they punished Wimbledon perhaps. However I believe many of the gamers, when you love the sport you are still going to go and play. So I believe they primarily punished the gamers, which I did not fairly get …”
Ukraine No. 5
“As a Ukrainian, I believe that I ought to present as a lot assist for my nation as I can, and I believe it was the precise determination from Wimbledon simply to indicate some assist from the tennis world. After all, I did not like the choice about taking part in with no factors. I hope that, I do not know, I simply hope that one thing will change within the tennis world within the thoughts of the gamers and within the thoughts of our affiliation. …
“I believe my private opinion is that as we see a whole lot of sports activities, they banned Russia, various Russian gamers and in tennis it is just one match. I actually assume that this isn’t a really massive value for them to pay or to just accept. I believe it isn’t an excessive amount of, it isn’t a lot, actually, it is only one match.
“However, I do not know, for them they really feel like they’re shedding their job. And I additionally really feel many unhealthy issues, I really feel a whole lot of horrible issues and I believe in comparison with that, shedding an opportunity to play in a single match is nothing.”
Benoit Paire (France)
World No. 78
“We’re going to play a match with none factors. When some folks had COVID, we did not say, ‘Oh, okay, we must always cancel the match altogether.’ However then we now have three or 4 Russian gamers, together with Medvedev, and we’re rallying in opposition to Wimbledon. I believe it is a pity, as a result of if we have been to hearken to all of the gamers, gamers don’t perceive this determination. Ninety-nine % of gamers, they wish to have factors and to play the match because it was earlier than.
“So I wish to know if ATP needs to defend gamers or Russia. …
“I’ll go there to get my prize cash, as I might for an exhibition match. However the query is: Why did not they speak with gamers upstream? Sure, after they say there was a council which voted, no person informed us about this. If it is a conflict between ATP and Wimbledon, it isn’t good for us, as a result of we wish to play usually.
“I am sorry for Russia and Russians, however they’re those inflicting all the difficulty. And all of the ATP gamers are literally paying the value. Medvedev shall be No. 1 worldwide. That is absurd. We must always really take place for all of the gamers on the earth, and it is the other that’s being performed proper now.
2021 Wimbledon semifinalist
“I do not agree with both [decision]. I believe to begin with, when you’ve got a professional competitors, that everyone ought to be competing. I utterly perceive the politics and the state of affairs they’re in.
“However once more, when you’ve got a tennis match that is alleged to have the very best athletes on the earth, it should not matter the place you are from, this and that, ? So everyone ought to be competing.
“I additionally do not agree with the ATP to take out all of the factors. Essentially the most guys it is affecting are the blokes within the high rankings. Clearly Novak, me, Hubi [Hurkacz], [Matteo] Berrettini, who will not be taking part in right here, we will drop loads.
“So it is troublesome. I believe they may have gone with it a special means, perhaps maintain 50 % like they’ve up to now or some form of equity. However even a man like [2021 Wimbledon quarterfinalist Marton] Fucsovics goes to drop out of the highest 100, .
2017 US Open champion, member of WTA’s Participant Council
“I believe the choice that was taken was the proper one. I believe that there are a whole lot of issues that occurred behind the scenes that the press will not be conscious of, and I believe there was a whole lot of mishandling of how all the pieces was dealt with.
“I imply, clearly I assist our CEO, I assist my council, I assist the gamers. The choice that is been taken clearly wasn’t taken flippantly. I believe when you find yourself backed right into a nook and that is all you are able to do, I believe that is why the choice was made, and I assist it.
“I can inform you that we labored actually laborious to attempt to make it possible for everybody had a good alternative to play, and on the finish of the day that is not what occurred. …
“I believe once you have a look at the rules and what our tour stands for, discrimination won’t ever be tolerated. That is precisely what’s taking place. So long as that is in play, there are not any factors.”
2021 US Open champion, world No. 2
“After I learn the FAQ of ATP, why they made this determination, as a result of they’re explaining themself, they aren’t simply saying, ‘OK, we determined that,’ I discovered it very logical what they are saying at the least. That is what I did not discover in Wimbledon explanations.
“I am not saying which determination is correct, however at the least up to now in explaining their selections, I discovered ATP simply extra logical and extra consecutive. …
“I might be actually glad to play Wimbledon. I like Wimbledon. I like taking part in on grass. I’ll play on grass after Roland Garros.
“But when I can’t, I imply, [I’m] simply going to organize for subsequent tournaments, and, , simply observe what’s taking place there. There are not any factors, I develop into No. 1, effectively, nice for me. If there are factors, I can’t develop into No. 1, I’ll be gutted. It’s what it’s. I can’t change some selections, each about ATP and Wimbledon.”
2017 French Open champion
“It must be honest to everybody. After all we gamers can say our opinions, however I really feel like nonetheless we aren’t those who’re making the choice. There are in fact a whole lot of rumors and talks, however I believe perhaps they’ll change their thoughts. I am unsure about factors. However I believe a whole lot of issues might occur throughout the subsequent, like, week or two weeks.
“However, I imply, if there are not any factors, I am not likely positive what I am gonna do. … As a result of I really feel prefer it’s just a little bit unfair to play the match when there are not any factors and also you form of, you may win the match after which you do not transfer one spot up within the rating. So it is just a little bit unusual.
“However in fact it is very prestigious match, so nonetheless, I imply, in fact I like Wimbledon and I wish to play it. Hopefully, I do not know, one thing will change throughout the subsequent few weeks.”
2018 Wimbledon semifinalist
“I do not understand how that is going to have an effect on the sector. It may have a special really feel to it. You realize, I do not personally agree with the choice to ban the gamers from Russia and Belarus. However the gamers, we might additionally desire to be taking part in for factors, so I — however I get it. I am not saying the ATP has made a improper determination, however we would like to be taking part in with factors.
“However I positively stand with the ATP within the sense that I imagine these gamers ought to be taking part in. They do not have something to do with the invasion happening. You realize, all of us simply need this, the entire world simply needs this to return to an finish in some way. It stinks that it is interfered with sports activities, however that is the way in which of the world now. …
“I imply, it is nonetheless Wimbledon, proper? Somebody goes to get topped the champion. They’re simply not going to get 2000 factors. It is positively a special really feel. I do not understand how I’ll alter to it. Proper now, honestly, I am not that stoked about Wimbledon. I would simply present up on Saturday and perhaps I’ll play Monday and see what occurs. As a result of, , our foreign money on tour is factors.”
British No. 1
“Wimbledon continues to be such a particular occasion. However I believe you may see a whole lot of high gamers not taking part in, simply resting and preparing for the hard-court occasions. Particularly people who don’t be concerned an excessive amount of concerning the cash.
“Clearly it is a particularly troublesome state of affairs with all the pieces happening with the conflict. This modifications the rating methods loads. They’ve taken away virtually 6,000, 5,000 factors from the entire system out of nowhere, so it is gonna intervene with the rankings after which a whole lot of gamers that did effectively at Wimbledon final yr are going to be dropping.”