Aussie tennis hero lashes out as Wimbledon faces player boycott

·4-min read
Casey Dellacqua, pictured here with Ash Barty at the Australian Open in 2020.
Casey Dellacqua with Ash Barty at the Australian Open in 2020. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

Aussie tennis hero Casey Dellacqua has slammed the ATP and WTA's decision to strip rankings points from Wimbledon, while Aussie star Chris O'Connell has flagged his intentions to skip the grand slam in protest.

The ATP and WTA made the staggering decision to take rankings points away from players who attend Wimbledon in July, a move in retaliation to the All England Club's ban on Russian and Belarusin players.

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The bombshell move is believed to be an attempt by the ATP and WTA to put everyone on the same playing field as the Russian and Belarusian players who aren't allowed to play - but means the iconic event will be nothing more than an exhibition.

Addressing the situation over the weekend, Dellacqua said the move will be particularly detrimental to lower-ranked players who rely on the points they received at majors.

"It's a difficult one because there probably are a lot of players that would be in consultation with the tours, but there would be a lot of players that wouldn't be happy with this decision because they're therefore going to Wimbledon really playing for the prestige of playing at Wimbledon and not for ranking points," she said on Sport Sunday.

"Ranking points determine a player's trajectory in terms of where they're heading, how they get into the next tournament, maybe where they're seeded.

"It will affect someone like a Novak (Djokovic)... Novak for example, the defending champion, will lose 2000 points and that will probably have an effect on his World No.1 ranking.

"There's a lot to play out."

Aussie women's No.1 Ajla Tomlanovic expressed similar concerns about her ranking.

"I don't think they'll carry over the points earned from 2021, they'll get wiped and then you don't have a chance to defend your points. That's very unfair, in my opinion," she told AAP.

"It's going to be very strange to go to Wimbledon where no points will be on offer."

Tomljanovic worked her way to a career-high ranking of 38 earlier this year after reaching the quarter-finals at Wimbledon in 2021.

But she will receive a huge hit if she is unable to defend the points she earned at the All England Club last year.

Alja Tomljanovic, pictured here in action at the Italian Open.
Alja Tomljanovic in action at the Italian Open. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

Chris O'Connell thinking of boycotting Wimbledon

On Sunday, O'Connell became the first player to admit he's thinking the unthinkable - ditching the chance to play at Wimbledon.

The Sydneysider, who enjoyed the best tournament of his career at the Australian Open earlier this year, says he may snub the chance to play the world's greatest tournament because his dream of making the men's top-100 is more important to him.

Instead of playing on the hallowed lawns of the All England Club, O'Connell and his backroom team are thinking instead of playing in other low-profile tournaments - on grass or clay - where points will be on offer.

"My ambition is to make the top 100. If I go to Wimbledon, then I'm in qualifying first and I waste a week there. And if I happen to qualify, then I waste another week," O'Connell said after bowing out of the French Open in the first round on Sunday.

"So I'm speaking with coaches about what I'm going to do, to be honest. I don't know if I'll play."

Chris O'Connell, pictured here in action against Aljaz Bedene at the French Open.
Chris O'Connell in action against Aljaz Bedene at the French Open. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

The topic was the talk of the opening day at Roland Garros among players - most of whom were left reflecting on their disappointment about the decision.

Britain's Cameron Norrie also said he thinks some top players could spurn Wimbledon.

"Obviously, it's an extremely difficult situation with everything going on with the war, but for me it's tough," Norrie told reporters.

"Having a home slam and not having to gain any ranking points from that and the tradition of it.

"You're not really playing for anything, you're playing this almost like an exhibition.

"So for me it was tough to see that and obviously it's a really tricky situation but I would have liked to see it still have points, still have something on the line."

with agencies

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