Novak Djokovic criticises ‘lose-lose’ Wimbledon decision and backs ATP’s response

Djokovic said Wimbledon have made a ‘mistake’ in banning players from Russia and Belarus but maintained he plans to defend his title at the All England Club

Jamie Braidwood
Tuesday 24 May 2022 08:53
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<p>Djokovic made his grand slam return at the French Open on Monday </p>

Djokovic made his grand slam return at the French Open on Monday

World No 1 Novak Djokovic has said Wimbledon’s decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players from this year’s Championships is a “mistake” and backed the move by the ATP and WTA tours to strip ranking points from the tournament.

Djokovic said he plans to play at Wimbledon even though he will be losing the 2,000 ranking points he gained by winning the Championships for the sixth time last summer.

It comes after the four-time major winner Naomi Osaka said she was unsure whether she would enter Wimbledon as the lack of ranking points on offer would in her view make it an “exhibition” event.

The ATP and WTA announced their decision last week after Wimbledon refused to change its stance on banning Russian and Belarusian players from competing due to the invasion of Ukraine.

Djokovic, who was speaking to reporters following his first-round win over Yoshihito Nishioka at the French Open, said it was a “lose-lose situation” for everyone.

"On a personal level of course, without getting a chance to play and defend my 4,000 points from Australia and Wimbledon, I will drop them this year," Djokovic said.

"On a personal, individual level I am very negatively affected by that. Collectively I am glad that players got together and showed to the Grand Slam that when there is a mistake happening we have to show there will be some consequences.

"I think it [Wimbledon’s ban] was a wrong decision. I don’t support that at all. But at these times it is a sensitive subject and whatever you decide will create a lot of conflict.”

The All England Lawn Tennis Club expressed their “deep disappointment” at the ATP and WTA’s reaction, saying it was their only viable option under government advice.

British No 1 Cameron Norrie has also been critical of the decision, saying he was “very disappointed”. Djokovic, however, said he will aim to defend his Wimbledon title even though there are no ranking points on offer.

"It’s a very unique and weird situation but a Grand Slam is a Grand Slam," Djokovic said.

"Wimbledon has always been my dream since I was a kid. I don’t look at it through the lens of points or prize money but there has to be some standards with some mutual respect.

"This is one of these kinds of decisions where there will always be someone who will suffer more. It is a lose-lose situation."

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