Dan Evans has claimed only the big-name players were consulted before points were stripped from Wimbledon this year. “Being better at tennis makes your opinion louder,” said the British No.2.
Male record Grand Slam holder Rafa Nadal has opposed the ban on Russian and Belarusian players. And world No.1 Novak Djokovic last night re-stated his support for the ATP and WTA action in penalising Wimbledon.
“There is a mistake happening and we have to show that there is going to be some consequences,” said the reigning Wimbledon champion.
Frenchman Lucas Pouille is the first player to say he will not play at SW19 because there will be no points while Japanese superstar Naomi Osaka has revealed she is also considering not going.
The divisive issue has dominated the start of the French Open and promises to rumble on till the start of Wimbledon on June 27.
Evans stated last week his opposition to points being removed from the grasscourt Grand Slam. And after winning his first ever match at the French Open, the No.29 explained his frustration at how the decision was made without consulting the majority of players.
“It’s not the right decision but it’s a difficult one,” said Evans. “Obviously everyone’s got an opinion. I want to be playing for points, obviously, but there’s obviously bigger things to this decision than me wanting points.
“I also don’t like it when the players are saying it’s a disgrace but don’t know the ins and outs of the issue. I would like to have more player input, but that wasn’t to be. Like most things, the bigger, better players were asked, and there’s quite a lot of other players on the tour as well as Rafa, Novak. So, which is disappointing, in my opinion, from the ATP.”
Harriet Dart has also revealed she had not been consulted about the points deduction.”But being better at tennis makes your opinion louder,” Evans added. “Does it make it right or wrong? Does it mean it’s any better of an opinion than mine or Harriet Dart’s? And that was, in my opinion, disappointing that we weren’t asked. And that, as a Brit as well, I think we should have been asked.
“I don’t think it’s a players’ decision. But to hear it, it’s going to the way of no points through the press. We just ask for transparency and on this occasion it wasn’t there.”
Djokovic, who is playing his first Grand Slam this year in Paris after he was deported from Melbourne, said: “On a personal level, of course, without getting a chance to play and defend my 4,000 points I’m going to drop in this year, Australia and Wimbledon , I have been very negatively affected by that. But I have been speaking with management and the president of ATP and some of the council members actually in the last few days.
I think collectively I’m glad that players got together with ATP, the governing body of the men’s tennis, and showed to the Grand Slam that,when there is a mistake happening, and there was from the Wimbledon side, then we have to show that there is going to be some consequences.
“So I think it was a wrong decision. I don’t support that at all. But, you know, during these times, it’s super-sensitive subject, and anything that you decide, it’s unfortunately going to create a lot of conflict, a lot of separation instead of unification.
“A few days ago I found out that there was a document of recommendation from the English government towards the All England Club and where they had several options. There was not only one on the table.
“They haven’t discussed it with anybody from ATP or any individual players or for that matter Russian or Belarusian players to, you know, just communicate and understand whether there is a common ground where both sides could be making a compromise and something could work out. So I think it was a wrong decision. I don’t support that at all.”