Wimbledon faces the prospect of becoming the richest exhibition tournament in tennis, with threats over the grand slam losing ranking points status.
The ATP and WTA tours have allowed athletes to continue performing and they will be able to enter the French Open, starting in 11 days.
But the All England Club, which runs Wimbledon, decided to take an independent decision away from the two main tours and ban the athletes.
The LTA then followed suit and banned them from all grass court warm-up competitions in the UK, such as the Cinch Championship at Queen’s Club and Rothesay International at Eastbourne.
According to the Daily Mail, there were backstage meetings at the Madrid Open last week and the Italian Open in Rome this week about what to do.
The report states that Wimbledon, and the other LTA events, could be stripped of official ranking points, making them essentially all exhibition tournaments.
This could mean a number of players dropping out of smaller tournaments in favor of competing in other grass tournaments in Germany and the rest of Europe.
This in turn would reduce interest in tournaments in England, both live and on television, with highly ranked players like Matteo Berrettini, Casper Rudd and Carlos Alcaraz all currently signed up to play for Queen’s, potentially pulling back.
Player representatives at the ATP are particularly inclined to take a hard line at Wimbledon, which would not be affected by any withdrawals due to the prize money and stature still on offer.
It would still be a blow to the tournament in SW19, however, with a top-notch showing at least for the current year.
No decisions have been made by the ATP yet, although it could be this week, and the women’s WTA will likely follow suit.
Nadal called the decision to ban players ‘unfair’, but a former Ukrainian tennis player, who now defends his country on the front lines, hit back at the Australian Open champion.
“…If anyone can find a quote in which Russian or Belarusian players condemn the invasion of Ukraine?
“And don’t mark ‘no war’ or ‘stop war’ because those statements sound like if Ukrainians stop fighting, the war would stop.”