Wimbledon set to be STRIPPED of ranking points for women after banning Russian and Belarussian players… and Britain could also miss out on staging new Masters grass court event in the run-up to the Championships
- WTA Chief Executive Steve Simon held a conference call with leading players
- Rest of the circuit are allowing the likes of Russia’s Daniil Medvedev to play on
- Queen’s was in pole position to stage a top-tier tournament before Wimbledon
The threat of Wimbledon being stripped of ranking points came closer to reality on Tuesday night when the head of the women’s tour backed the idea.
WTA Chief Executive Steve Simon told a heavily-attended conference call of leading players that he was formally recommending it as a response the banning of Russians and Belarussians from SW19.
Sportsmail understands that other UK grass court events will be spared the same fate, on the basis that there are alternative places for the barred players to compete during those weeks.
Wimbledon set to be stripped of ranking points for women after banning Russian players
The rendering of Wimbledon as effectively an exhibition event for the women will be confirmed later this week if his stance is ratified by the WTA’s main Board and Player Council, as seems likely.
It also increases the prospect of their male counterparts, the ATP, taking the same action against the All England Club.
British tennis’s unilateral stance on banning Russian players could also cost it the chance to host a hugely expanded grass court event before Wimbledon, Sportsmail understands.
Plans are afoot to create a top-tier Masters 1000 ATP tournament prior to the SW19 fortnight, with Queen’s having been in pole position to step up to that level.
The rest of the circuit are allowing the likes of Russia’s Daniil Medvedev to play on
Yet, according to senior sources at the tour, the UK’s case has been damaged by its decision to go against the rest of the circuit’s policy in allowing Russians and Belarussians to play on.
That could be the sting in the tail from Monday night’s announcement that the UK’s pre-Wimbledon men’s events had escaped having their ranking points stripped.
Lawn Tennis Association Chief Executive Scott Lloyd travelled to the Miami Open at the end of March. While there, he presented the argument that Britain should stage any enlarged tournament in the three-week window between Roland Garros and Wimbledon.
At present there are two ‘500’ level events in the middle week, at Queen’s and in the German town of Halle.
ATP Tour supremo Andrea Gaudenzi has stated that his strategy is to create a bigger tournament in the tier that sits just below the Grand Slams.
Queen’s was in pole position to stage a top-tier ATP tournament before Wimbledon
‘I personally like the concept of having an ATP Masters 1000 tournament on grass the week of Queen’s and Halle,” he told The Times last year. “It is something I have proposed to stakeholders and to the board.’
There are already two ‘500’ level events in Germany the week of the Cinch Championships at Queen’s – for the men in Halle and the women in Berlin.
Halle has a stronger international field than Queen’s and a retractable roof, although its courts are not usually as good as in London.
The license for the proposed 1000 event, which could come into being by the middle of this decade, would be sought after by sports investors hungry for premium properties.
Virtually all the top male players would travel there – meaning that, if it went to Europe, Queen’s would have to accept lower status and change its date.
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