Djokovic row: Andrew Allison defends him, saying its his 'choice'
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While it’s the French Open beginning on Sunday, Wimbledon has been the Grand Slam hitting headlines after the ATP and WTA officially removed all ranking points on offer at The Championships in response to Wimbledon’s ban on Russian and Belarusian players.
But the likes of former champions Nadal and Djokovic have their sights firmly set on the French Open, with the world No 1 hoping to defend his title while the Spaniard is ready to test himself after suffering an injury scare in Rome last week. But the pair have been drawn in the same quarter, with the other favourite for the title – Carlos Alcaraz – lurking in the same half.
It was an unsuccessful comeback for Daniil Medvedev after undergoing hernia surgery as he lost his first match back in Geneva, while there was good news for Roger Federer as he continues to build back up ahead of his return at the Laver Cup. And Emma Raducanu shut down criticism of her latest coaching move ahead of her French Open debut.
Express Sport takes a look at all of the biggest headlines from on and off court over the past week.
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Wimbledon stripped of ranking points as ATP and WTA hit out over Russia ban
Following Wimbledon’s decision to ban all Russian and Belarusian players from The Championships this year, the ATP and WTA officially announced their decision to remove all ranking points on offer at the tournament as a sanction in response to the ban. The tours had been in talks over removing ranking points for several weeks and confirmed the news on Friday.
“The ability for players of any nationality to enter tournaments based on merit, and without discrimination, is fundamental to our Tour. The decision by Wimbledon to ban Russian and Belarusian players from competing in the UK this summer undermines this principle and the integrity of the ATP Ranking system,” the ATP said in a statement.
But several players have already spoken out against the removal of points, with many claiming the ATP and WTA player councils never consulted their colleagues or listened to them. The likes of former US Open champion Bianca Andreescu admitted players were left feeling “powerless” in the decision.
Nadal and Djokovic lead group of death in French Open draw
Ahead of the French Open, Nadal, Djokovic and Alcaraz have been at the top of the list of bookies’ favourites for weeks, trading the top three spots among themselves. And they will now have to battle it out between one another for the title, all being drawn in the top half of the draw in Paris.
Djokovic and Nadal are in the same quarter, meaning they can only meet as early as the quarter-finals, while Alcaraz and three-time clay Masters 1000 title winner Alexander Zverev are in the other quarter of the same half. The world No 1 has played coy on his potential last-eight clash, making just one comment on his potential lefty opponent in his pre-tournament press conference as he said: “I’ve trained mostly with righties and I will play lefties, so yes, that’s difficult.”
Federer gives fresh injury update with Laver Cup comeback on
There were several updates on Federer’s progress following his third knee surgery last August. The 40-year-old has not played since Wimbledon last year and is plotting a comeback at the Laver Cup in September, now looking all set to be ready in time for the team tournament being held in London’s O2 Arena, and he could even be back at Wimbledon come next summer.
“He’s exactly where he wants to be but unfortunately it takes time. He’s going to play Laver Cup and Swiss Indoors,” his agent, Tony Godsick, told Standard Sport. “I don’t want to be the doctor but what I hope for him is to able to have a great rehab this summer, play some in the fall and give a nice shot at 2023, and then see what happens. I haven’t talked to him about that.”
And the 20-time Major champion is raring to go and hoping to up the intensity of his training, saying he was ready to “give it his all” on the tennis court again. Speaking to Caminada, he said: “I’m waiting for the doctors’ okay. I’m ready to give it my all again. I feel like a racehorse scratching its stall and wanting to race. In the summer I hope to be able to hit the ground running. I’m looking forward to coming home in the evening after the tough day of training and being completely exhausted.”
Raducanu hits back at doubters after axing coach
Raducanu is making her French Open debut next week and is still without a full-time coach after firing Torben Beltz last month to “transition to a new training model”. She is currently travelling with Iain Bates, the head of women’s tennis at the LTA, but has come under fire for opting to go without a head coach in what is still her first full season on the tour.
But the 19-year-old isn’t worried about outside opinions, revealing she was happy to go it alone. “It is not difficult,” she told Eurosport. “I am enjoying my tennis at the moment, and also when you are playing matches you have to be your own coach, so I am very confident in what I am doing right now.”
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