Wimbledon: Sloane Stephens backs WTA decision to strip ranking points

Former US Open champion Sloane Stephens

Sloane Stephens has backed the WTA’s decision to strip Wimbledon of its ranking points. 

Both the WTA and ATP announced last week that players at the Grand Slam would not receive ranking points. 

The International Tennis Federation will also not grant ranking points in the junior and wheelchair events.

The decision was made after the All England Lawn Tennis Club banned Russian and Belarusian players from all grass-court events in the UK, including Wimbledon. 

“The stance we are taking is about protecting the equal opportunities that WTA players should have to compete as individuals,” the WTA said.

“If we do not take this stance, then we abandon our fundamental principle and allow the WTA to become an example to support discrimination based on nationality at other events and in other regions around the world.”

Stephens, a member of the WTA Players’ Council since 2019, backed the governing body’s decision.

“I think when you look at the principles and what our tour stands for, discrimination will never be tolerated,” she said, according to tennis journalist Ben Rothenberg. “That’s exactly what’s happening.”

Some players on the WTA Tour are unhappy with the decision, however, including Ajla Tomljanovic.

The Australian number one reached the quarter-finals at Wimbledon last year, accumulating 430 ranking points and eventually rising to a career-high of 38th in the world. 

As Tomljanovic is now unable to defend the points she earned last year, she is expected to plummet down the world rankings to 85th. 

Australian tennis star Ajla Tomljanovic

“I don’t think they’ll carry over the points earned from 2021, they’ll get wiped and then you don’t have a chance to defend your points,” she said. “That’s very unfair, in my opinion.”

“It’s going to be very strange to go to Wimbledon where no points will be on offer. Sometimes unfair things happen and you’ve just got to roll with the punches.”

Despite her predicament, Tomljanovic revealed she would not consider boycotting Wimbledon.

“Of course, I wouldn’t miss it for the world,” she said. “Wimbledon is Wimbledon – and if you win it and get no points, of course you’d still take it. 

“But I’m definitely going into that small bracket of players who are going to be really affected. But it’s out of my control, so I’ve just got to try to do well regardless of that.”

The All England Lawn Tennis Club has expressed “deep disappointment” about the ATP and WTA’s decision.

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