As the dust settles after Wimbledon, not only are the players suffering from the lack of ranking points, but the AELTC and the LTA must contend with being fined by the WTA and, possibly, the ATP, for taking making a stand against Russia’s on-going illegal and immoral war in Ukraine.
Looking at the current rankings without the Wimbledon pts. What an embarrassment. The fact that Rybakina would have been somewhere around #5 in the world & is still 23 & Jabeur went from 2 to 5 is just ridiculous. I hope the @WTA figures out a way to reward these players... Could we not have found a better system than to hurt every player!? Rennae Stubbs
Whichever way it is dissected, the situation surrounding the banning of Russian and Belarusian players is unfair, and it is by no means over as tennis chiefs prepare for a legal showdown over the million pound loss to British tennis, and consider extending the ban to next year if Russia does not pull out of Ukraine.
Wimbledon announced its ban at the end of April after Russia shattered peace in Europe and the world economy by invading Ukraine, with Belarusian players facing the tournament sanction due to their county’s support role in the attack.
Now the AELTC has been fined £207,000 because the ban violated its WTA contract which states that tournaments must be ‘open to all categories of women tennis players without discrimination’.
While discussions have yet to take place regarding any ban at next year’s Championships, it is understood that unless the UK government’s policy changes, this is likely to remain in place.
The AELTC got off lightly compared to the LTA, which has been fined £620,000 for their exclusions from the lead-up grass court tournaments, but competing players were still able to accumulate ranking points.
The difference between the two is that these are WTA events, unlike Wimbledon which is a privately-owned Grand Slam.
The LTA is now planning to appeal the fine, and is taking legal advice on the matter, even to the extent of presenting its case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, although experts claim they would have little chance of turning the decision around unless mistakes were made during the WTA’s process of handing out the fine.
The fact that the WTA Board of Directors, chaired by Chief Executive Steve Simon, handed out the fines in the first place and now is the body considering the appeal, clearly rankles, notwithstanding that one of its most outspoken player representatives on the Player Council influencing such decisions is Belarusian Victoria Azarenka, who was re-elected in November last year.
It must be galling, too, that David Haggerty, President of the ITF, sits on the WTA Board, and that the ITF also imposed its own ranking sanctions on Wimbledon when the ITF and the four Grand Slams have previously allied themselves together.
Also, that the WTA insisted that both organisations pay up front before any appeal could be considered.
Meanwhile, Novak Djokovic and Elena Rybakina, the gentlemen’s and ladies’ champions, will not be rising up the rankings any time soon.
While Rybakina has stayed in her No 23 spot, Djokovic has dropped to No 7 in the world as last year’s Championship points have fallen off his ATP Ranking.
Players knew what they signed up for Wimbledon, but now are facing the consequences of the pedantic position taken by their player bodies in the face of a very serious conflict that could well spill beyond Ukrainian borders.
On the women’s side, Iga Swiatek stays at World No 1, even though she lost fairly early at SW19, but Jabeur is a biggest loser as she has dropped from her No 2 spot to 5, despite finishing as the Championship runner-up.
The Tunisian would have comfortably stayed at No 2 had she picked up the 1,300 points that are usually awarded to a Grand Slam finalist.
Anett Kontaveit, who lost in the 2nd-round, Maria Sakkari, a 3rd-round loser, and Paula Badosa’s loss in round 4, have placed them all ahead of Jabeur in the rankings, another nonsense.
Emma Raducanu, meanwhile, has moved into the Top 10 for the first time, despite exiting in the 2nd-round, after her run to the 4th-round last year, while Tatjana Maria moved up just 5 places to 98 despite reaching the semi-final of Wimbledon.
Rennae Stubbs, the former doubles World No 1 and now a respected Australian pundit, tweeted: “Looking at the current rankings without the Wimbledon pts. What an embarrassment. The fact that Rybakina would have been somewhere around #5 in the world & is still 23 & Jabeur went from 2 to 5 is just ridiculous.
“I hope the @WTA figures out a way to reward these players.”
Stubbs, like many, is not happy to see innocent players facing such consequences, and cited the dilemma of fellow Aussie Ajla Tomljanovic, who reached the Wimbledon quarter-finals both in 2021 and this year, only to drop 30 places after The Championships.
“Also players like @Ajlatom [Ajla Tomljanovic] dropping something like 38 spots and she reached the quarters like last year,” Stubbs asked. “Could we not have found a better system than to hurt every player!?
“Let’s not forget the ATP too. I think the ban was not ok, we could talk about that for days and I have my thoughts but punishing EVERY SINGLE player who busted their asses for hours to go backwards in the rankings!
“Players are playing challengers this week who did great last week,” Stubbs added.
Aside from Djokovic dropping to No 7, the stripping of points has also played havoc on others, such as Matteo Berrettini, last year’s finalist, who falls to No 15 from 11 in the world.
Jannik Sinner, though, came out best because of the point changes, having made the quarter-finals this year but, last year, he lost in the 1st-round meaning he had very few points to protect, and so moves up to No 10, a jump of 3 places.
Rafael Nadal picked up 2,000 points at the French Open, which boosted his ranking ahead of Wimbledon and, because he did not play on the grass last year, his ranking rose to No 3 as a result.
The Championships hit new heights
The Wimbledon situation has left a serious rift within the world of tennis, but The Championships were, nevertheless, a huge public success as the numbers the Club has published this week reflect:
Back at full capacity for the first time since 2019, The Championships 2022 delivered record digital and streaming audiences alongside strong television audiences worldwide.
Coverage of this year’s Wimbledon set a new record for online viewing figures, with 53.8m streams on BBC iPlayer and online, beating the previous high of 30.5m in 2021.
A total of 25.5m people watched on BBC television as British No 1 Cameron Norrie reached his first Grand Slam semi-final before losing to the eventual champion Novak Djokovic.
The volume of hours consumed by television viewers was also the highest since The Championships 2016, when former British No 1 Andy Murray won his second Wimbledon title.
US audiences also reported strong engagement through broadcast partner ESPN, with the Ladies’ Singles Final averaging 1.2m viewers (peaking at 1.7m viewers at the end of the match), while the Gentlemen’s Singles Final averaged 2.2m viewers (peaking at 3.3m viewers in the final games of the match), a 22% increase on last year’s Final.
Wimbledon Broadcast Services (WBS) televised every match of The Championships across all 18 courts including Centre Court in 4K High Dynamic Range.
It was also a record year across Wimbledon’s digital and social media platforms, with an 18% increase on unique audience consumption on owned and operated channels vs 2021.
This included a record 21.1m unique devices on wimbledon.com and the mobile apps (+45% on 2021), and a 37% increase in visits to the digital platforms.
myWimbledon, the Club’s personalised digital offering, also grew by 500,000 registrations during the grass court season and Wimbledon Fortnight.
Wimbledon’s operated social media platforms added 1.02m social followers since the start of the grass court swing – only the second time The Championships has exceeded 1m in growth during that timeframe.
Wimbledon’s total audience size now stands at 15.6m social followers, remaining the biggest Grand Slam by social following in total and on each platform (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, YouTube).
The best performing content across the Fortnight included the focal point of our Centre Court centenary celebrations on Middle Sunday where Roger Federer’s return and reunion with Rafael Nadal, among others, drove a major spike in engagements, including more than 10 million views of this Instagram reel.
Wimbledon’s Instagram account reached an incredible 82m total accounts across The Championships.
Demand for Wimbledon merchandise far surpassed previous records, with almost half a million items sold across the Fortnight, including more than 50,000 towels and more than 20,000 used tennis balls.
Guest demand for strawberries reached new heights with 50 tonnes (well over 2m strawberries) consumed, which is up 50% on the previous record year, 2019, with prices held at 2010 levels of £2.50 a portion.
Attendance, meanwhile, was the highest in Wimbledon history, with 515,164 guests attending during the Fortnight as a result of a full 14-day schedule.
Middle Sunday marked the celebration of 100 years of Centre Court and saw more than 15,000 tickets reserved for the local community to purchase, with thousands of tickets donated to refugees from Ukraine, Afghanistan and Syria, who are settled in the boroughs of Merton and Wandsworth, as well as charities, schools and community groups.
The Public Ballot returns
There is good news for the public too because The Wimbledon Public Ballot is returning for 2023, first launched in 1924, and intended to be the fairest means of obtaining tickets for The Championships.
Entry into the Ballot does not automatically entitle applicants to tickets, but to a place in the draw.
To receive information on the 2023 ballot, please ensure you have checked Tickets and Ballots within the Consent and Preferences section when you join myWIMBLEDON.
Wimbledon Champions for 2022:
- Gentlemen’s Singles: Novak Djokovic (SRB)
- Ladies’ Singles: Elena Rybakina (KAZ)
- Gentlemen’s Doubles: Matthew Ebden (AUS) & Max Purcell (AUS)
- Ladies’ Doubles: Barbora Krejcikova (CZE) & Katerina Siniakova (CZE)
- Mixed Doubles: Neal Skupski (GBR) & Desirae Krawczyk (USA)
- Gentlemen’s Wheelchair Singles: Shingo Kunieda (JPN)
- Ladies’ Wheelchair Singles: Diede de Groot (NED)
- Quad Wheelchair Singles: Sam Schroder (NED)
- Gentlemen’s Wheelchair Doubles: Gustavo Fernandez (ARG) & Shingo Kunieda (JPN)
- Ladies’ Wheelchair Doubles: Yui Kamiji (JPN) & Dana Mathewson (USA)
- Quad Wheelchair Doubles: Sam Schroder (NED) & Niels Vink (NED)
- Boys’ Singles: Mili Poljicak (CRO)
- Girls’ Singles: Liv Hovde (USA)
- Boys’ Doubles: Sebastian Gorzny (USA) & Alex Michelsen (USA)
- Girls’ Doubles: Rose Marie Nijkamp (NED) & Angella Okutoyi (KEN)
- Boys’ 14&U Singles: Se Hyuk Cho (KOR)
- Girls’ 14&U Singles: Alexia Ioana Tatu (ROU)
- Gentlemen’s Invitation Doubles: Bob Bryan (USA) & Mike Bryan (USA)
- Ladies’ Invitation Doubles: Kim Clijsters (BEL) & Martina Hingis (SUI)
- Mixed Invitation Doubles: Nenad Zimonjic (SRB) & Marion Bartoli (FRA)