Wimbledon ban of Russian and Belarusian players ‘very unfair’, says Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal has called the Wimbledon ban of Russian and Belarusian players “very unfair” as the ATP ponder their response.
Wimbledon officials reiterated their stance last week, saying a government directive about invading Ukraine left them with no viable alternative but to refuse entries from players from both countries.
There has been some support for Wimbledon’s stance, particularly from Ukrainians within tennis, but the reaction has been largely negative, with the ATP and WTA both deciding whether or not to impose sanctions. .
Speaking ahead of his return to action at the Madrid Open, Nadal told reporters in the Spanish capital: “I think it’s very unfair (to) my Russian tennis friends, my colleagues. It’s not their fault what’s happening right now with the war.
Action against Wimbledon and previous lawn tournaments run by the Lawn Tennis Association could include the removal of ranking points.
Nadal, who is a member of the ATP Players Council, added: “The 2,000 points, every time we go to Grand Slams, they are really important and we have to go to these tournaments. So we will have to see the measures which we will take.
“At the end of the day, what happens in our game, it doesn’t matter when we can see so many people dying and suffering and seeing the bad situation they are going through in Ukraine.”
Nadal is playing his first tournament in six weeks after suffering a stress fracture of a rib in Indian Wells in March.
His loss to Taylor Fritz in the final, when he was clearly physically hampered, ended his 20-game winning streak to start the season.
Nadal is catching up to get in top physical shape for Roland-Garros time, and said: “Speaking of injury, I’m healed, I feel good. Talking about my tennis game and my preparations, well, that’s a whole different story.
“Anyone who has broken a rib knows how limiting it is, very painful, especially the first few weeks. I couldn’t do anything without a lot of difficulty, even falling asleep because of the pain.
“I’ve improved from when I arrived here but I still have ups and downs because it’s been a long time without being in these kinds of situations and it’s going to be a tough week for sure.”
At the BMW Open in Munich, Dane Holger Rune, who turned 19 on Friday, claimed his first ATP Tour title when opponent Botic Van De Zandschulp retired through injury after just seven games.