ATP to retain ranking points at LTA events with Wimbledon decision expected this week

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Rafael Nadal of Spain reacts to an error in his men's singles third round match against Denis Shapovalov of Canada during day five of the Internazionali BNL D'Italia at Foro Italico on May 12, 2022 in Rome, Italy - ATP risks wrath of leading male players by retaining ranking points at Wimbledon and LTA events - GETTY IMAGES
Rafael Nadal of Spain reacts to an error in his men's singles third round match against Denis Shapovalov of Canada during day five of the Internazionali BNL D'Italia at Foro Italico on May 12, 2022 in Rome, Italy - ATP risks wrath of leading male players by retaining ranking points at Wimbledon and LTA events - GETTY IMAGES

The ATP has declined to strip ranking points from LTA-run events this summer, with a similar decision expected on Wimbledon later this week.

It now seems unlikely that strong sanctions will be applied, despite the aggressive course recommended last week by leading players - including Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer - who voiced their desire to see Wimbledon sanctioned for banning Russian and Belarusian players from this year’s championship.

It would be a bold move for the men’s tour to antagonise the All England Club, and an even bolder one after the Lawn Tennis Association were let off with a slap on the wrist.

An ATP player council meeting on May 9 came to the conclusion that Wimbledon should be punished for the ban by having their rankings points withdrawn.

Telegraph Sport has since learned that the Players Council was not as strong on the LTA warm-up events, meaning a decision on Wimbledon does somewhat remain in the balance.

After a week of complex and sometimes chaotic manoeuvrings behind the scenes, a verdict finally arrived on Monday night. While the LTA can still expect to be punished by a fine, rankings points at Queen’s and Eastbourne will remain unchanged.

In their deliberations, the ATP board may have been influenced by two factors. Firstly, Nadal and Federer’s counterparts on the WTA player council are understood to have been less belligerent in their stance.

Secondly, male players lower down the rankings are understandably reluctant to throw away any opportunities to climb the ladder. At the weekend, British No 5 Liam Broady tweeted that he would like to see the ATP and WTA organise “a vote about what players thought. They are players’ associations after all …"

'This is a horrible situation for everyone'

Ultimately, it seems that opinion across the game was too conflicted and confused for the ATP to take strong action – which is not uncommon in tennis.

But the two Italians at the top of the ATP – namely chairman Andrea Gaudenzi and chief executive Massimo Calvelli – could still face some heat for rejecting such a clear mandate from their player council.

Meanwhile, the AELTC board member and former world No 4 Tim Henman has told Telegraph Sport that the whole situation is regrettable and an unfortunate distraction from the upcoming French Open.

“This is a horrible situation for everyone,” said Henman. “It's a horrible situation for Wimbledon, it’s a horrible situation for Russian and Belarusian players, it’s a horrible situation for the tours. I just wished we didn't have this whole episode, because there's so much good stuff going on on the court. It's such a big distraction.”

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