Ukraine star Sergiy Stakhovsky rages at ATP Wimbledon action – ‘On the side of murderers’
Wimbledon chief says call not made on Barty centre court replacement
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Former Ukraine tennis star Sergiy Stakhovsky has launched a tirade at the ATP following their decision to strip Wimbledon of its ranking points. Stakhovsky claims the ATP’s stance shows they are “on the side of invaders and murderers”.
Wimbledon has continued to stand firm in its position that Russian and Belarusian players will be banned from the tournament due to the ongoing invasion of Ukraine. World No 2 Daniil Medvedev will therefore be one of those to sit out of the competition at the All England Club.
The ATP Tour announced on Friday that ranking points will now be removed from this year’s tournament. A statement claimed the decision from Wimbledon was “discrimination” and goes against the principle and integrity of their ranking system.
However, Stakhovsky has reacted angrily to the decision on his Twitter account. The 36-year-old, who retired from tennis earlier this year and joined the Ukrainian army in March, claims players have felt sorry for the Russian and Belarusian athletes and have not condemned the war in Ukraine.
Stakhovsky wrote: “To say that I am disappointed in @atptour would be understatement.. Never would expect that anyone can stand on the side of invaders and murderers… but it seems to me that even my fellow players feel sorry for invaders and collaborants from rus/blr.
“Players which in 85 days were not able to produce any clear message of condemnation of invasion into Ukraine. Shameful day in tennis.”
The ATP released a lengthy statement explaining their decision to remove ranking points from the third Grand Slam of the year. The organisation says a damaging precedent could be set and hopes to reach an “acceptable outcome” with Wimbledon organisers.
The statement in full read: “The ability for players of any nationality to enter tournaments based on merit, and without discrimination, is fundamental to our Tour. The decision by Wimbledon to ban Russian and Belarusian players from competing in the UK this summer undermines this principle and the integrity of the ATP Ranking system.
“It is also inconsistent with our Rankings agreement. Absent a change in circumstances, it is with great regret and reluctance that we see no option but to remove ATP Ranking points from Wimbledon for 2022.
“Our rules and agreements exist in order to protect the rights of players as a whole. Unilateral decisions of this nature, if unaddressed, set a damaging precedent for the rest of the Tour. Discrimination by individual tournaments is simply not viable on a Tour that operates in more than 30 countries.
“We greatly value our long-standing relationships with Wimbledon and the LTA and do not underestimate the difficult decisions faced in responding to recent UK Government guidance. However, we note that this was informal guidance, not a mandate, which offered an alternative option that would have left the decision in the hands of individual players competing as neutral athletes through a signed declaration.
“Our internal discussions with affected players in fact led us to conclude this would have been a more agreeable option for the Tour. We remain hopeful of further discussions with Wimbledon leading to an acceptable outcome for all concerned.
“More broadly, we believe this matter again highlights the need for a united governance structure across professional tennis so that decisions of this nature can be made in a joint manner.”
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