Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have been told to ‘come clean’ about their involvement in men’s tennis stars calling for Wimbledon to be stripped of ranking points after Russian and Belarussian players were banned from the tournament.
Sportsmail revealed on Tuesday that player representatives on the ATP Tour are said to be in favour of taking a hard line over the banning of Russians and Belarussians announced last month.
Many are of the opinion that players should not be barred from competing due to the sins of their governments, with meetings taking place last week in Madrid and over the past few days in Rome.
Members of the Player Council are said to feel particularly strongly about the issue, and as ATP owns the rankings system that operates all year round Wimbledon’s ranking status is therefore under threat.
The All England Club excluding the likes of Daniil Medvedev and Aryna Sabalenka due to being Russian or Belarusian has irked a number of top men’s tennis players, particularly Nadal.
‘I think it’s very unfair to my Russian tennis mates, my colleagues,’ the Spaniard said earlier this month. ‘In that sense it’s not their fault what’s happening in this moment with the war’.
Federer, who is set to miss the event through injury, is yet to comment on the matter in public, however both he and Nadal have been questioned as members of the Player Council.
MP Chris Bryant, the chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Russia, has urged the pair to disclose whether they played a part in crisis talks over Wimbledon and what their stance is.
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have been told to ‘come clean’ about opposition to Wimbledon’s ban on Russian and Belarussian players
Members of the ATP Player Council are calling for Wimbledon to be stripped of ranking points
The likes of Daniil Medvedev are unable to play in this summer’s tournament due to the ban
‘Federer and Nadal should come clean,’ Bryant told The Telegraph. ‘Do they want Vladimir Putin to fail or don’t they care?’
While recommendations from the Player Council – which consists of 10 members – do not force the ATP to take action, it is believed they have little option but to take their advice on board ahead of what could be a crucial meeting on Wednesday.
‘The men’s tour are behaving appallingly,’ Bryant added. ‘It’s like they haven’t heard what is happening in Ukraine or don’t care.’
The ATP publicly condemned the ban on Russian and Belarussian players when it was announced last month, saying: ‘We believe that today’s unilateral decision by Wimbledon and the LTA to exclude players from Russia and Belarus from this year’s British grass-court swing is unfair and has the potential to set a damaging precedent for the game.
‘Discrimination based on nationality also constitutes a violation of our agreement with Wimbledon that states that player entry is based solely on ATP Rankings. Any course of action in response to this decision will now be assessed in consultation with our Board and Member councils.’
Federer and Nadal have been told to disclose whether they played a part in the crisis talks
MP Chris Bryant has accused members of the men’s ATP tour of ‘behaving appallingly’
Yet MP Clive Efford, a leading member of the Digital, Culture, Media & Sport select committee, has urged the association to think about how it will be perceived by sanctioning Wimbledon.
Efford said: ‘The ATP needs to take a look around and appreciate how the rest of the world outside its bubble will view it for sanctioning Wimbledon for supporting Ukraine.’
If Wimbledon does not receive ranking points, the famous SW19 tournament faces being reduced to the status of a highly-paid exhibition.
Grass court build-up events such as the Cinch Championships at Queen’s Club can also expect a punishment for not allowing Russians and Belarussians to play with neutral status.