The war in Ukraine is shaking the world of tennis

More than the refreshing journey of the French team, which ended with the elimination in the third round, on Saturday 28 May, of Léolia Jeanjean, Alizé Cornet, Gilles Simon and Hugo Gaston, is the other red thread of this Roland -Garros 2022. Between two parties, the aftermath of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24 continues to fuel discussions in the locker room. They refer less to the Parisian clay than the London turf, as the ATP and the WTA, the two associations that govern the men’s and women’s circuits, announced on Friday, May 20, their intention to compensate for the ban given by the organizers. Wimbledon to Russian and Belarusian players to participate. in this upcoming Grand Slam tournament (June 27-July 10).

→ THE FACTS. War in Ukraine: Wimbledon, the first tennis tournament banned by Russian athletes

Fear of a Moscow political recovery in the event of a Russian victory – all the more plausible since world number 2 Daniil Medvedev of Russia and Belarussian Aryna Sabalenka, a semi-finalist last year – appeared on the favorites list. . had motivated the decision of the management and the English tennis federation, a month ago. The two authorities then joined the “position taken by the British government to limit Russia’s external influence”they said in their press release.

Consequences in the world ranking

A strong decision for the tennis family, which until then had taken its time to align with the ban on Russian and Belarusian players, recommended in late February by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and followed by most federations sports of the world. .world. But she immediately turned a blind eye to the criticism of the Russian players themselves, who judged her. “discriminating”and from the world number one, Novak Djokovic, to the least accustomed to the spokesperson, such as the Spaniard Rafael Nadal, causing the ATP in turn to oppose what he described as“unfair”.

As a result, the latter has chosen not to distribute to all the players of the future London fortnight any of the points that are usually awarded to them according to their trajectory in the competition and that serve as the basis for the world ranking. The latter resource reduces, in fact, the most prestigious of the four Grand Slams to a simple friendly tournament, with no sporting consequences for the rest of the season, far from satisfying the circuit insofar as the players, who have to defend each tournament points. who had won there a year before, will lose these units without being able, this time, to win any. “I will go from 60th to 130th in the world. Thanks! », preferred to irony on social media Hungarian Márton Fucsovics, a quarter-finalist at Wimbledon in 2021.

Former ATP player board chairman Novak Djokovic was more understanding after his first round at Roland Garros: I’m glad the players and the ATP have agreed, to prove to the Grand Slams that when he makes a mistake, and Wimbledon commits it, there will surely be consequences. » The Serbian, as defending champion, would lose most points, and could find himself in a position to lift his seventh trophy on the other side of the Canal while being expelled from his seat as world number one … by rus Daniil Medvedev. Faced with this incongruity, some headliners, such as the Japanese Naomi Osaka, raise the question of their participation.

ridge line

More than the controversy surrounding the award of these points, the debate recalls the ridge on which the world of sports has been oscillating since the war in Ukraine, between the desire not to give propaganda material in the Kremlin, that of not stigmatizing but, The Russian and Belarusian foreign athletes themselves to the conflict and the ability to reassure Ukrainian players. “We don’t want to punish the individual,” recalled in early May Amélie Mauresmo, the director of Roland-Garros, where the Russians were able to evolve under a neutral flag.

Asked about this hybrid position before the start of the tournament, Elina Svitolina, the best Ukrainian player in the ranking, described Release the atmosphere “weird” heard by his compatriots on the circuit: We look forward to receiving more support (…), few Russian and Belarusian players came to see us or sent us messages. It’s sad. Before we no longer had great ties with them, now it is nothing. »

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The return to the form of Marin Cilic

“I thought he wasn’t missing much.” Eliminated in the third round of Roland-Garros by Marin Cilic, Gilles Simon greeted on Twitter the new victory of the Croatian, on Monday, in the round of 16. Because no one saw the correction inflicted in less than two hours by the former world number three (6-2, 6-3, 6-2) on Russian Daniil Medvedev, second in the ATP rankings. At 33, Cilic reaches the Grand Slam quarterfinals for the first time since 2018, eight years after his startling U.S. Open title. “I’ve been here for a long time”, warned before his Wednesday match against Andrey Rublev. The Croatian can see a good streak in Paris, in the middle of the table where Stefanos Tsitsipas no longer appears, disgusted on Monday by the young Danish phenomenon Holger Rune.

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