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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Tuesday May 24, 2022


The World No.1 supports the way the tours hit back at Wimbledon, even if it is tough on a personal level.

Photo Source: Getty

Novak Djokovic has hit out at Wimbledon over the tournament’s decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players from this year’s championships, as well as its unwillingness to effectively communicate with the WTA and ATP Tours before making its decision.

Tennis Express

The World No.1, who was victorious in his first-round match at Roland-Garros on Monday night, said he is pleased to see unity coming from the players side, against Wimbledon.

“I’ve been speaking with management and the President of the ATP and some of the Council members actually in the last few days and I think collectively I’m glad that players got together with the ATP, the governing body of men’s tennis and showed to the Grand Slams that when there is a mistake happening – and there was from the Wimbledon side – then we have to show that there is going to be some consequences,” he said. “So I support the players unification always. I’ve always done that, I will always do that.”

Djokovic is naturally disappointed that he will not get to defend his 2000 ranking points from last year's Wimbledon. The fact that it will significantly impact his chances of hanging on to the No.1 ranking is deleterious side effect of the ATP’s decision to not award ranking points at Wimbledon, and Djokovic spoke about it candidly.

Personally, It's Rough

“On a personal level of course, without getting a chance to play, and defend, 4,000 points I’m going to drop this year – Australia and Wimbledon – so of course on a personal, individual level I’m very negatively affected by that,” he said.

Djokovic also said he was disappointed with Wimbledon’s decision to exclude players and the tours from its decision-making process. He told reporters that several options were presented to them by the British government, some of which would have been more agreeable to the players.

“Of course it’s up to Wimbledon or the LTA or whoever was making that decision to make that decision but I didn’t know, for example, that a few days ago I found out that there was a document of recommendation from the English government to the All England Club, where they had several options,” he said. “There was not only one on the table, so they haven’t discussed it with anybody from the ATP or any individual players or for that matter Russian and Belarusian players, to communicate and understand where there is a common ground, where both sides could be making a compromise and something could work out."

Wrong Decision

Djokovic stressed that he understands the complexity of the situation, but it didn’t change his frustration.

“So I think it was a wrong decision,” he said. “I don’t support that at all, but during these times it’s a super sensitive subject and anything you decide is unfortunately going to create a lot of conflict, a lot of separation instead of unification.

“I think that they could have taken into consideration [other angles], for example I heard that there was some recommendations coming from the WTA and ATP that possibly men’s and women’s players from Russia and Belarus could possibly play together at an exhibition event during the Slam or somebody could play mixed doubles and the prize money can go to the victims in Ukraine and stuff like this. There were different ideas but there was never really a strong communication coming from Wimbledon.

“That’s why I think it’s just wrong. Whether there was and there is a better solution than just taking away the points and not allowing the players to earn points or defend points, because there are two groups of players, everyone has to defend, so for me, or for the guys that did well last year, we are not only not going to have the chance to earn points, but we can’t defend them. And there are some guys obviously that are not going to have the chance to earn points. It’s a very unique and weird situation, I must say.”

As the press conference concluded Djokovic stressed that he still plans to attend Wimbledon.

“Of course a Grand Slam is still a Grand Slam. Wimbledon was always my dream tournament when I was a child, so I don’t look at it through the lens of points or prize money for me,” he said. “But again there has to be some standards or criteria, some respect, mutual respect I think. And I think maybe there’s always going to be some groups of players that are going to be affected more negatively and they are going to complain more. It’s hard really. It’s hard to say what is right or wrong. This is one of those kind of decisions and situations where there is always going to be someone that will suffer more, so it’s kind of, I would say, a lose-lose situation for everyone.”


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