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Wimbledon controversy: Ace Indian player Jeevan supports ATP, WTA decision to dock ranking points


Bengaluru, May 25: The decision by the ATP and WTA, then men's and women's governing bodies respectively, to dock the Wimbledon 2022 the ranking points has sharply divided the tennis community.

But the call has found a wholehearted supporter in Indian ace Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan.

The ATP and WTA had arrived at the decision to strip Wimbledon of ranking points after the All England Club decided to bar Russian and Belarusian players from competing in the oldest Grand Slam.

Wimbledon defends Russian, Belarusian ban amid WTA and ATP penaltiesWimbledon defends Russian, Belarusian ban amid WTA and ATP penalties

They took the decision following Russia's invasion of Ukraine and though French Open did not bar the Russian players, Wimbledon took the extreme step.

"Personally, I feel it's a good decision. As professional players, we need to support the stand taken by our association. I think it's a courageous and brave decision," Jeevan told a group of invited journalists in a virtual media interaction hosted by Sony Sports Network, who have the excluisve broadcast rights of French Open 2022 in India.

The ATP justified the decision, saying the move was to protect the integrity of the sport, which was built upon merit-based tournament entry through rankings and a level playing field.

The WTA concurred to it, basing its decision on its foundational principle of equal opportunity, championed by the legendary Billie Jean King.

Jeevan said a lot of thought must have gone before arriving at such a decision.

"It must've been a tough decision to make for ATP/WTA. Obviously, there must've been a lot of phone calls between players and the associations as how to proceed with this unique situation.

In such a scenario, both ATP and WTA had to take a tough stand, which they've taken in the larger interest of the sport," he said.

"The fact is that they're showing support and taking into confidence those players who can't make it to Wimbledon because of the stand taken by the All England club," he added.

Jeevan Neduncheziyan

Grand Slam champions Daniil Medvedev (Russia) and Victoria Azarenka (Belarus) had led the chorus from ATP and WTA against the All England Club decision.

Jeevan hopes a solution will be found soon.

"This is an unprecedented situation. We don't know what'll happen in the coming months. Hopefully, everything will get sorted out soon," he added.

Medvedev and other Russian players are competing in French Open which is currently underway at the Roland Garros.

French Open favourtites

Jeevan, who is one of the panelists for Sony Sports Network for the clay-court Grand Slam, was at his diplomatic best when asked to pick his favourite for the title.

"In the women's it has to be Iga (Swiatek) for sure. She's been in incredible form since February and has been on a roll.

In the men's section, I can't think beyond one off Novak (Djokovic) and Rafa (Nadal). Looks like they'll end up meeting in the quarterfinals this time and it's good for men's tennis. Rafa has won it already 13 times and after seeing his first-round performance, I won't be suprised if he adds another more to his cupboard. And if you're looking for dark-horses then you've Carlos Alcaraz and Stefanos Tsitsipas."

Sympathy for Thiem

Jeevan also sympathised with the plight of former US Open champion Dominic Thiem, who lost in the first round.

"He hasn't won anything since his comeback. What I feel is that he has never been the player he was after winning 2020 US Open. His mindset has never been the same after that triumph and his drive has somewhat gone down. If he can show the same hunger and passion that he did before winning his maiden Grand Slam, then he can be the same old player.

"I heard he is planning to play in some Challenger tournaments to get his mojo back. it's good for him, the more you play and win, the more your confidence levels will be."

Pat for Sania

Before signing off, Jeevan also had a word of praise for compatriot Sania Mirza, who is on her last year on the WTA circuit, having announced that she will be hanging up her racquets at the end of the season.

"Sania (Mirza) is player who gives her best all the time. Irrespective of whom she partners in doubles, she's someone who can beat any opponent on a given day. I hope she ends the season on a high."

Where to watch French Open

Watch Roland-Garros 2022 morning and evening session at 2:30 pm & 7:30 pm IST, LIVE on SONY SIX, SONY TEN 2 (English), SONY TEN 3 (Hindi) and SONY TEN 4 (Tamil & Telugu) channels.

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Story first published: Wednesday, May 25, 2022, 11:53 [IST]
Other articles published on May 25, 2022