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‘Let’s see what the players do’ – Nadal, Djokovic hint at collective action on Wimbledon’s ban of Russian, Belarusian players

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic each asserted their belief that Wimbledon’s ban is unfair, and hinted that their could be repercussions to come from the players and tour

May 1, 2022, MADRID, MADRID, SPAIN: Rafael Nadal of Spain attends his press conference during the Mutua Madrid Open 2022 celebrated at La Caja Magica on May 01, 2022, in Madrid, Spain. || 229360_0010 2022 PRESS SOCCER sport tennis zagency zlast24 zselect ZTENNIS Zuma ZUMAPRESS.com zwire

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic each expressed their opposition to Wimbledon’s ban of Russian and Belarusian players on Sunday in Madrid, and hinted that they support the players pushing back against the decision, if it comes to that.

Nadal – it’s unfair to my colleagues

Nadal told the media in Madrid that the players should not be punished for something that is out of their control.

“I think it’s very unfair of my Russian tennis mates, my colleagues,” Nadal said. “In that sense it’s not their fault what’s happening in this moment with the war. In that sense, well, you know, talking about colleagues, I don’t know what to say. I’m sorry for them. I wish it was not this way, but at the end of the day we know that this is what we have.”

The Spaniard hinted that the players could unify and back some kind of a resistance on behalf of the affected players, but it isn’t clear what plans might eventually materialise.

“Let’s see what happens in the next weeks, if the players will take some kind of decision in that regard. In that sense, well, there is one thing that’s negative, you know, there are things that are clear,” Nadal said. “When the government imposes some restrictions, you just have to follow them. In that case, the government gave a recommendation, and Wimbledon just took their decision, the more drastic position that they could take without taking into account – the government didn’t force them to do it.

“So we will have to see the measures that we take, and it’s very unfair thing for them, for sure.”

Nadal also says that no matter what happens, the injustice suffered by the banned players pales in comparison to what the people of Ukraine are going through.

“At the end of the day, what happens in our game is, you know, it doesn’t have any importance when we can see so many people dying and suffering and seeing the bad situation they are having in Ukraine, very serious,” he said.

Djokovic – I stand by my original comments, I don’t support the decision

Novak Djokovic is in agreement with Nadal, and reiterated his belief that the Russian and Belarusian players are being treated unfairly.

He was asked if he knew of players seeking legal action against the decision.

“I have spoken to some of the Russian players in Belgrade, and, obviously it’s not an easy situation to be in, you know, stripped away the right to participate in one of the biggest tournaments if not the biggest tournament in the world,” he said. “It’s hard. You know, I understand that, you know, there is frustration. ATP is going to, I guess, analyze the whole situation and understand what can be done. I have not spoken to people from ATP, so I’m not sure about it.”

Djokovic hinted that there are some ongoing discussions amongst the player’s council, the players and the tour about how to deal with the unfairness with regard to ranking points and prize money that Wimbledon’s ban creates.

“I still stand by my position that I don’t support the decision,” he said. “I think it’s just not fair, it’s not right, but it is what it is. You know, they are entitled to make the decision, and now I guess it’s on player council, the tour management, to really decide along with the players what is the best solution in this situation, whether they keep the points, protect the points, take away 50% of the points or whatever.”

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