Wimbledon's Ban Of Russians From Tournament Backfiring

John Simmons | May 25, 2022
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Wimbledon’s decision to ban Russian athletes from competing in the world’s most iconic tennis tournament is backfiring in a lot of ways.

On Friday, the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) and the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) stripped the tournament of its ranking points, making this year’s edition of the tournament nothing more than an exhibition event. Anyone who participates – male or female --  will not have their world ranking improved regardless of how they finish. After all, can you really say you are better than someone else if a lot of your opponents have been forced from competing in the tournament?

Naturally, for athletes that are jockeying for top position in the world, this consequence is already looking rather unappealing and causing several high-profile stars to not want to play.

“Right now, truthfully, I’m not that stoked about Wimbledon. I might just show up on Saturday and maybe I will play Monday and see what happens. Because, you know, our currency on tour is points,” U.S. men’s star John Isner said.

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Naomi Osaka, the current female world No. 1, is also contemplating sitting out the tournament.

“I would love to go just to get some experience on grass, but at the same time, for me, it’s kind of – I don’t want to say pointless, no pun intended,” Osaka said. “But I’m the type of player that gets motivated by seeing my ranking go up. So I think the intention was really good, but the execution is kind of all over the place.”

Novak Djokovic, the last man to win Wimbledon, also sees this as a major problem for the players and the sport overall.

"It's hard, really ... It's kind of, I would say, lose-lose situation for everyone,” the Serbian said.

The logic and results of the Wimbledon ban reflects that of economic sanctions placed on Chelsea F.C. While it would make sense to want to hold Russia accountable for its invasion of Ukraine, it is highly debatable whether or not punishing athletes is the best way to bring about that accountability.