Wed. Jul 6th, 2022

The action from the powerful player bodies effectively renders the time-honored major in London as an exhibition for 2022. But lucrative prize money, still to be revealed publicly, would still be on offer.

The ATP stressed there was an alternative to Wimbledon’s strong stance – described previously by chair Ian Hewitt as “intensely tough and agonizing”.

Daniil Medvedev of Russia.

Daniil Medvedev of Russia.Credit:Salvatore Di Nolfi / Keystone via AP

“We note that this was informal guidance, not a mandate, which offered an alternative option that would have left the decision in the hands of individual players competing as neutral athletes through a signed declaration.

“We remain hopeful of further discussions with Wimbledon leading to an acceptable outcome for all concerned.”

The ATP’s announcement came on the same day as star Russian Medvedev officially ruled out any legal action.

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In banning individual ATP and WTA players, Wimbledon worried that any success by Russian athletes would be “used to support the propaganda machine of the Russian regime”.

An aggrieved Medvedev, preparing for Roland Garros – his second event after an injury lay-off – acknowledged that Wimbledon’s decision could be tested in court on discrimination grounds.

“I’m not a lawyer but, as you say, I guess if you ask a lawyer, there is some room to make on this,” Medevedev said.

“It’s not me making these decisions. I’m not going to court for this one. ”

Instead, Medvedev will target other tour events on grass – s-Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands, Halle in Germany and Mallorca in Spain – without Wimbledon action.

“I like grass and I want to continue improving,” said Medvedev.

Allowing entry to players had made written declarations denouncing Russia and President Vladimir Putin was considered by Wimbledon, but ultimately rejected.

“And we know they do have a history of using sport to advance their cause, and that is a serious matter for us, and we could not accept Wimbledon being part of,” said Hewitt.

Expectations on highly ranked Medvedev at Roland Garros – starting in Paris on Sunday – are modest given he recently had hernia surgery which sidelined him for six weeks and his record on clay is not as strong as other surfaces.

Australian Open champion and 13-time French Open winner Rafael Nadal said he was not the favorite to triumph again in Paris, conceding his chronic foot injury was continuing to affect him.

Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates at a tournament in Italy this month.

Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates at a tournament in Italy this month.Credit:Alex Pantling / Getty Images

“It’s not gonna disappear now,” he said. “It’s about if the pain is high and strong enough to allow me to play with real chances or not.”

Nadal was downbeat after last week’s event in Rome, but his predicament has improved.

“I was, yeah, suffering after that for a couple of days, but I feel better … that’s why I’m here,” said the 35-year-old.

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“After the match … I said this is something that can be better in the near future. I hope that’s the case here. ”

World No.1 Novak Djokovic holds narrow favoritism, ahead of young gunman Carlos Alcaraz, who brings some hot form on clay to Paris.

In the women’s draw, former world No.1 Naomi Osaka has opened up about how she was “very worried” about returning to France following last year’s dramatic circumstances when a dispute with organizers about participating in media conferences eventually resulted in her pulling out.

Asked about whether she had put the events “completely out of mind”, Osaka said: “I’m not gonna lie.

“When I first came here … I was worried that there were people that I offended some way and I would just kind of bump into them.

“I think like everyone has been really positive, for the most part.

“I was also very worried about this press conference because I knew Id get a lot of questions about this. For the most part I think I’m OK. ”

In the opening round, unseeded Osaka faces a tough match against American Amanda Anisimova, the player who sent her packing in the Australian Open.

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