Grass Court success for Russians despite Wimbledon Ban

Who will lift the women's singles title at Wimbledon?
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Russian tennis player Ekaterina Alexandrova won her second WTA title, in ‘s-Hertogenbosch (sometimes referred to as Den Bosch), at the Libema Open. She beat Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka, 7-5 6-0, in the first week of the grass court season.

This final is particularly interesting, as neither will be able to compete at Wimbledon due to the ongoing war in Ukraine. In fact three of the four semifinalists were either Russian or Belarusian.

There was also a Russian player in the men’s final in The Netherlands, with Daniil Medvedev losing out to Dutch wild card Tim Van Rijthoven in perhaps the story of the week.

The story behind the Russian and Belarusian Wimbledon ban

Back in April, Wimbledon and the LTA announced that they had decided to ban Russian and Belarusian players from all British tournaments, following the Russian attacks on Ukraine.

This was met in retaliation by the ATP and WTA, who believed that this was “discrimination” and decided to punish Wimbledon and the LTA by removing Wimbledon ranking points for this year.

This has led to some branding one of the most prestigious sporting events as an “exhibition.”

Not only does removing ranking points punish Wimbledon, it also punishes the players. Especially those who had a successful Wimbledon in 2021.

Players who will suffer the most 

Novak Djokovic #1 – 2000 points (Wimbledon 2021 champion)

Djokovic is set to lose his #1 spot after failing to regain his Roland Garros title. However, now he also will be unable to regain the top spot at Wimbledon where he was also champion last year.

Ironically, this means that Russian player Medvedev will be world #1.

Matteo Berrettini #10 – 1200 points (Wimbledon 2021 runner-up)

Berrettini had an amazing run on the grass courts last year. However, this decision means he could drop out of the top 20.

Karolina Pliskova #7 – 1200 points (Wimbledon 2021 runner-up)

Pliskova was beaten in last year’s final by the now-retired Ash Barty. She will fall out of the top 10 regardless of how well she does.

Aryna Sabalenka #6 – 720 points (Wimbledon 2021 semifinalist)

Not only will the Belarusian not be able to compete at Wimbledon, she will also not be able to defend her semifinal points from last year.

Denis Shapovalov #16 – 720 points (Wimbledon 2021 semifinalist)

Shapovalov has not followed up on the great run he had at Wimbledon last year, and consequently he will likely fall out of the top 20.

Hubert Hurkacz #13 – 720 points (Wimbledon 2021 semifinalist)

Hurkacz also had a breakthrough run at Wimbledon in 2021, beating Roger Federer along the way. Although he wont shift too many places, he will still lose a sizeable 720 points from his ranking.

Angelique Kerber #18 – 720 points (Wimbledon 2021 semifinalist)

The former Wimbledon champion had another great year on the grass last year, but she will have no choice but to fall out the world’s top 20.

Marton Fucsovics #55 – 360 points (Wimbledon 2021 quarterfinalist)

Fucsovics was perhaps the biggest surprise from Wimbledon last year, so this decision has left him unsurprisingly annoyed. He will likely fall outside the top 100.

Ajla Tomljanovic #45 – 360 points (Wimbledon 2021 quarterfinalist)

Another surprise face in the quarterfinals last year, Tomljanovic will fall to around 80 in the world rankings.

There are many others that will suffer due to these decisions. But, it is important to keep it in perspective that none will be suffering like those in Ukraine, whose lives have been turned upside down by the acts of evil.

It remains to be seen whether there will be any U-turns or adjustments to these decisions, but for now we face a Wimbledon without Russians, Belarusians, and ranking points.

Main Photo from Getty.